What is cholera?

Cholera is a bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal system

What are the symptoms?

Cholera symptoms vary in severity

Some people can be infected but have little to no symptoms

Moderately infected individuals will experience rapid onset of diarrhea which is sometimes accompanied by vomiting and possible dehydration

Severe cholera is characterized by profuse, watery diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and possible kidney failure

Other symptoms include muscle cramps, reduced urination, sunken eyes, dry mouth, increased heart rate and reduced blood pressure

If left untreated, cholera is often fatal as a result of severe dehydration

How can I contract it?

From contaminated food or water

Cholera can spread rapidly in areas where drinking water and sewage are not properly treated

Where can I contract cholera?

Cases occur in developing countries and there have been outbreaks in Africa, Asia, India, and Central and South America

Most travellers are at low risk, however the risk increases for travellers who do not take adequate food and water precautions and relief workers who travel to areas where there are known outbreaks

What vaccines are available?

Dukoral is the only cholera vaccine available in Canada

Dukoral® does not treat cholera that has already developed and does not provide 100% protection as there are multiple strains

However it covers the majority

How many doses will I need?

Adults and children aged 6+ need 2 doses, at least 1 week apart

Dukoral® takes a week after the second dose has been administered to be effective so take your first dose at least 2 weeks before you travel

Side effects are infrequent, but may include mild abdominal discomfort

Do not take Dukoral® if you have a fever, acute gastrointestinal disease, immune system disease or if you are pregnant or are allergic to Dukoral® or its components

Will I need a booster?

Yes

Dukoral® is effective against cholera for 2 years

How can I prevent cholera?

Frequent hand-washing and food and water safety precautions are the best ways to prevent a cholera infection

If you are travelling to areas where tap water may not be safe to drink and bottled beverages are not available, be prepared to purify your own drinking water

You can also boil water, use filters and/or water purification tablets or drops

Avoid raw or undercooked shellfish and fish

What is the treatment for cholera?

Mainly rehydration, orally or intravenously

Antibiotics are sometimes used

Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to dehydration

Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid alcohol, caffeine and dairy products as these may make your symptoms worse

You can also use an oral rehydration solution (ORS)

These solutions contain water and mineral salts to replenish fluids and electrolytes as well as glucose or other simple carbohydrates to enhance absorption

"The Burnaby location has very nice staff that makes your less than fun stay much better (who likes being stuck by one or more needles). They give vaccinations for basically anything that you could need wile out travelling the world. "
Mike G - Yelp

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