Cholera Vaccine

What is Cholera and where can it be found?

Cholera is a bacterial infection of the intestine that can cause severe diarrhoea. This infection can be contracted by ingesting food or water that is contaminated with the cholera bacteria.

You can catch cholera from:

  • Drinking unclean water
  • Eating food (particularly shellfish) that’s been in unclean water
  • Raw fruit and vegetables that have been handled with contaminated water
  • Eating food that’s been handled by an infected person

The risk of cholera while travelling is small, but is known to exist in areas without a modern sewage system or a clean water supply such as Africa Southeast Asia.

Symptoms of Cholera:

The most common symptom of cholera is diarrhoea, and therefore is difficult to determine cholera from other illnesses. Other more serious symptoms of cholera include:

  • Nausea and vomiting: vomiting is known occur in early stages of cholera
  • Dehydration: fatigue, sunken eyes, dry mouth, low blood pressure

How to prevent Cholera:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and use hand sanitise, particularly after using the toilet.
  • Ensure to eat cooked food that is hot, avoid street food if possible.
  • Drink bottled water or water that has been boiled.
  • Avoid raw fish

Is there a Cholera vaccine?

There is a vaccine for cholera. A cholera vaccination is recommended for aid workers and people likely to have limited access to medical services – for example, people working in refugee camps or after natural disasters.

The vaccine is given as a drink in 2 separate doses, taken 1 to 6 weeks apart (providing protection for up to 2 years). Children ages 2 to 6 years should have a third dose taken 1 to 6 weeks after the second dose.

Make sure the final dose of this vaccine is at least a week before your travel.

If you have previously been vaccinated against cholera and you’re planning to travel to an area where the infection is common, a single booster dose or full revaccination is usually recommended.

How much does the Cholera Vaccination Service cost?

The Cholera Vaccination costs £65, available at selected Day Lewis Pharmacies.

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