Table of Contents

What is Cholera?

Cholera is a disease from the bacteria Vibrio cholerae and spread from water or food. Once infected, a person may develop symptoms such as excessive diarrhea, leading to cramping and dangerous dehydration.  In the worst cases, kidney failure and death can occur without rapid medical treatment.  As a result, prevention with the Cholera vaccine is often recommended for travelers at higher risk of exposure.

Where is Cholera Found?

An estimated 2 million cases and 100,000 deaths worldwide occur from cholera infection annually.  Approximately 50 countries report cases, although many cases likely go unreported due to lack of healthcare infrastructure. Outbreaks can occur when sewage contaminates drinking water supplies, which is more likely to happen in lower income countries. Natural disasters, war, and political or social upheaval often precedes cholera cases.

How is it Spread?

Following ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacteria, symptoms and illness may develop.  Sometimes, a food worker infected with cholera can transmit the disease to others if they do not properly wash their hands after using the bathroom.  Subsequently, bacteria on the hands transfers the illness to food or utensils.  Additionally, the disease may spread from eating undercooked or raw food such as seafood. 

Cholera can enter water supplies from unfiltered water. If traveling to an area with active cholera outbreak, the cholera vaccine can offer protection
Cholera outbreaks are more likely in displaced populations from natural disasters or war. The cholera vaccine is recommended for many humanitarian aid or medical workers

Who Needs a Cholera Vaccine?

Anyone traveling to an area with an ongoing cholera outbreak should consider vaccination.  In particular, humanitarian aid workers and medical volunteers are at higher risk of exposure, especially if traveling for more than 30 days. During your appointment, Destination Health will discuss with you if the cholera vaccine is recommended for your travel plans.

How is the Vaccine Administered?

The cholera vaccine is an oral solution, one of the few oral (by mouth) immunizations available.  After the nurse mixes the vaccine in water, it is taken during the office visit.  In preparation for the appointment, do not eat or drink for 60 minutes prior as the vaccine is taken on an empty stomach. Currently, travelers 2 – 64 years are eligible for the vaccine.  Additional instructions will be given by the nurse to ensure proper administration. 

Where Can I Find a Cholera Fever Vaccine Near Me?

Destination Health Travel Clinic keeps hard-to-find vaccines like cholera available on-hand. Schedule your visit online at any of our three Massachusetts locations; Braintree-South ShoreSpringfield-Longmeadow or Natick-Framingham or call the office nearest you for an appointment. 

Additional Travel Vaccines

In addition to cholera vaccine, other immunizations may be recommended for your trip. Click to read more about the Typhoid Fever vaccine, Hepatitis A vaccine, and Rabies Vaccine for humans.