Cholera

What is Cholera?

According to the World Health Organisation, there are roughly 3–5 million cholera cases and 100,000–120,000 deaths worldwide due to cholera every year. A cholera vaccine provides protection from the infection and is 85% effective. The vaccination is particularly important for people travelling to remote regions as wellas aid workers and medical professionals working in cholera areas. 

The cholera vaccination is given orally and involves two doses, which need to be taken a minimum of 7 days apart. In order to be protected abroad, you need to finish the course at least one week before travelling.Food and drink should be avoided 1 hour before and 1 hour after vaccination.

Adults are protected for two years after the vaccination, children require more regular boosters and may need to take three doses of the cholera vaccine to be fully protected.

Cholera is caused by an infection with vibrio cholerae bacteria. Although improvements to the sanitation system and an improved knowledge of personal hygiene have eradicated cholera in large parts of Europe, the illness is still present in many countries. Cholera bacteria spread through contaminated food and water, as well as contact with faeces. Cholera is not commonly passed from one person to another. 

The illness can remain symptomless but usually leads to symptoms affecting the digestive tract, such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Some patients also complain about stomach cramps. When left untreated, cholera can lead to complications such as dehydration and a lack of electrolytes, especially in a hot climate. A cholera vaccine is available for travellers who may be at risk.

Cholera is caused by an infection with vibrio cholerae bacteria. Although improvements to the sanitation system and an improved knowledge of personal hygiene have eradicated cholera in large parts of Europe, the illness is still present in many countries. Cholera bacteria spread through contaminated food and water, as well as contact with faeces. Cholera is not commonly passed from one person to another. 

The illness can remain symptomless but usually leads to symptoms affecting the digestive tract, such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Some patients also complain about stomach cramps. When left untreated, cholera can lead to complications such as dehydration and a lack of electrolytes, especially in a hot climate. A cholera vaccine is available for travellers who may be at risk.

Cholera is transmitted via contaminated water and food stuffs. A very important step in preventing infection is to be in control of what you eat and where your drinking water comes from. The safest option is bottled water. Alternatively, you can boil water to make it safe to drink. While staying in a cholera area, you need to take particular care to wash your hands regularly, especially before touching food. You should cook all food well before you eat your meal while it is still hot (or keep it refrigerated afterwards). The nurses at our travel clinics are happy to advise you about the cholera vaccine and give you tips on how to stay healthy while travelling.

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