Cholera vaccination

What is it?

Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small intestine caused by contaminated food and water which leads to vomiting and diarrhoea.

Countries at risk…

Countries at risk Cholera occurs in countries where there is poor sanitation and hygiene. It occurs in areas where there is a limited access to clean water and food and higher rates occur in places of natural disasters.

Travel precautions

Our recommended vaccines for the most common travel destinations outside of Europe includes Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) vaccines. For travellers who are visiting the developing world on a regular basis or for prolonged periods of time, we would recommend considering hepatitis B vaccine. Cholera is worth considering for travellers visiting rural areas of developing countries. The vaccine against cholera (Dukoral) also reduces the risk of the most common form of traveller’s diarrhoea caused by E coli. Dukoral is an oral vaccine given in two doses one week apart.

Only drink from a sealed water bottle or boiled water. Avoid ice and salad that has been washed with tap water. Only eat fruit that can be peeled and avoid uncooked food. Ensure that food is freshly cooked and piping hot.

Signs and symptoms

Initial symptoms occur 1-5 days after ingesting the bacteria. Symptoms include severe water diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting and stomach cramps.

The vaccination

The cholera vaccination consists of two doses over a 1-6-week period which gives protection for up to two years. The cholera vaccine is a drink that must be drunk on an empty stomach meaning no food or drink (including water) should be ingested an hour before or after the vaccine. The cholera vaccine reduces travellers’ diarrhoea by 50% and is therefore a big factor in many travellers receiving the vaccination even if they are not heading into a high-risk cholera zone.


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