Travel Health information about Cholera
Cholera is a bacterial infection found in contaminated food and water. It is is common in places with poor sanitation, for example where sewage comes into contact with drinking water. It also arises in the developed world where seafood like shellfish and plankton have been contaminated, but this is rare. Here’s everything you need to know about the cholera travel vaccine.
Regions where cholera is common
Cholera is commonest in Africa, Asia and Central America. It’s also found in places where there has been a natural disaster, war-torn regions where the medical infrastructure has broken down and in particularly poor, crowded places.
What is cholera and what causes it?
Cholera is a bacterial infection found in contaminated food and water. It is common in places with poor sanitation, for example where sewage comes into contact with drinking water. It also arises in the developed world where seafood like shellfish and plankton have been contaminated, but this is rare.
Cholera is often mild and some people don’t experience any symptoms at all. Around 10-20% will develop severe symptoms, which can be fatal. People with severe cholera can experience really bad diarrhoea and vomiting. If left untreated it can lead to chronic dehydration, a drop in blood pressure and, eventually, shock. In very serious cases it can be fatal. Common cholera symptoms include:
- Large amounts of watery diarrhoea containing small rice-sized flecks of white material made of mucus and skin cells, with a fishy smell
- A fast heart rate and low blood pressure
- Lost skin elasticity, slightly wrinkly
- Dry mucous membranes, for example in your nose
- Low blood pressure
- Thirst and muscle cramps
- Feeling restless and irritable
People who should consider vaccination:
- Those going to work in an area with an outbreak – aid workers, health workers, emergency relief workers
- Those staying long term in an area where there is high risk of cholera and limited access to medical care
Don’t have the vaccination if you’ve had a previous bad reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients, which include formaldehyde.
How to minimise the risk of catching cholera?
While it’s essential, this vaccine doesn’t always provide full protection. Some strains are not affected and a bad case can still make you very ill indeed. The best strategy is prevention, which is mostly common sense. Keep away from people infected with cholera. Stick to bottled drinking water, avoiding ice at all costs. Maintain high levels of hygiene and steer clear of suspect, grubby-looking restaurants and street food vendors.
Which drugs are used and are there any side effects?
- Vaccine name – Dukorol, an inactivated vaccine which can be taken at the same time as other common vaccinations
- Administration – orally
- Dose – Dissolved in around 150ml of water
- Course – Adults: 2 doses 1-6 weeks apart, children (aged 2-6): 3 doses 1-6 weeks apart. We recommend you finish your course at least a week before you travel
- Boosters – If it has been more than six weeks between doses, we’ll need to re-start the course from scratch. A booster can be given to adults two years after the first course, and the same for children aged 2-6. A booster can also be given six months after the first dose for children aged 2-6. And if more than two years have passed since the last time you had the vaccine, the first course will need to be restarted.
- Side effects – Rare nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Rare coughing and inflamed mucous membranes in your nose (rhinitis). Very rare sore throat and problems sleeping (insomnia)
- Special Certificate requirements – None
- Special instructions – Avoid food and drinks for an hour before and after taking the vaccination
How long will the protection last?
The cholera vaccine lasts 2 years.
Where to get cholera vaccinations?
We provide cholera vaccinations in our spotless, clean, efficient, professionally run specialist London vaccination clinic.
How much do cholera vaccinations cost?
- Cholera, Dukorol, Course of Two (Adult): £37.50 per dose
- Cholera, Dukorol, Course of Three (Child): £37.50 per dose
Book a consultation
Want to book a cholera vaccination? You may simply want to explore the risks or find out more first. It’s quick and easy to book an appointment, either by phone or via our website. Call 0207 112 5198 to talk to a friendly, expert vaccination specialist.