Cholera Vaccinations

Medical Term: Cholera

Danger Zone: Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Mexico.

Transmission: Cholera is transmitted by contaminated foods and beverages.

What is it: An infectious gastroenteritis caused by ingesting fecally contaminated food or beverages.

Symptoms: Cholera symptoms are severe diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramping, and resulting dehydration.

Prevention: Take careful precautions regarding what you consume in affected areas. There are such things as cholera vaccines, but they are not widely available or recommended. Your best defense is to be vigilant with sanitation during your vacation.

Fatal: While most cases are mild, cholera can be fatal if untreated due to the extreme dehydration involved.

Cholera symptoms can progress fairly rapidly if left untreated, so always consult a physician to begin replacing fluids if you are experiencing cholera symptoms.

As with all food-borne infections, the most important prevention is your careful vigilance in what you consume in areas where cholera risk is high. This is your major line of prevention since cholera vaccinations are not available to the public in the United States.

-Avoid roadside food and beverage stands.

-Drink and brush your teeth with factory bottled water or other sealed beverages, or check that your resort provides purified tap water.

-In more remote areas, boil and/or treat water with proper bleach or iodine purification chemicals. Always use these as directed.

-Avoid dairy products.

-Wash and peel raw fruits and vegetables yourself, as they may have contaminated water on them.

-Avoid pudding, watermelon, lunch meat, and salads of all kinds.

-"Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it" is a popular slogan for travelers in higher cholera risk areas.

Note: Always consult your doctor or another qualified medical professional for the best information about international travel vaccinations.

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