Cholera is a potentially life-threatening illness that is more prevalent in developing countries in Africa, Latin America and parts of South Asia. Although it can become life-threatening, the odds of a traveller contracting cholera is very rare. However, there is a vaccination that can help you further reduce your chance of getting the illness.
The consumption of food and water infected by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae causes cholera. According to the World Health Organization, “cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection”. So, it is an intestinal infection.
Who is at risk of contracting cholera?
While the average traveller passing through may not be a high-risk candidate for contracting cholera, some people might be.
You might be at a higher risk if you:
Are staying in a developing country for an extended period
Will be visiting rural areas
Are planning to work in a refugee camp.
Symptoms of Cholera
Some people infected with cholera will show no symptoms. It will naturally pass through their system.
However, those who do present with symptoms may experience severe watery diarrhoea and dehydration. In these symptomatic cases, medical treatment should be sought immediately as the disease can be fatal.
Cholera typically presents symptoms from 12 hours after contraction, but it can take up to five days.
How to prevent cholera
The oral vaccination Dukoral can aid in the prevention of cholera, along with eating and drinking from establishments and areas that follow the proper food and water hygiene guidelines.
If you are concerned about cholera, or if you are visiting a country that currently has the disease, we suggest that you speak to your doctor
What is the Dukoral oral vaccination?
Dukoral is the oral vaccination that helps decrease your risk of developing cholera (and to some degree against e.coli).
Adults and children over 6 years of age will need two doses at least seven days apart, but no longer than six weeks. Children from 2 to 6 years of age need three doses, each dose should be taken at least 1 week (and no more than 6 weeks) apart. The Dukoral vaccine is taken orally as a liquid.
Treatment of cholera
As cholera is an intestinal infection that results in severe diarrhoea, dehydration is of grave concern. Those infected need rehydration as quickly as possible as cholera can be fatal within hours of showing symptoms.
If you would like to talk to one of our doctors about cholera, or any other travel concerns, please contact to make an appointment with our travel clinic.
You can call 9741 1200, or book an appointment online.