Cholera - Everything You Need to Know

Cholera is common in poor parts of the world where there is little clean water or poor sanitation and sewerage. Also therefore, it’s prevalent where there have been disasters such as earthquakes or where people are living in refugee camps etc.

For tourists, the chances of contracting cholera are very low unless you are working in risk regions.

How would I catch cholera?

Cholera is caused by several different types of waterborne bacteria. It is spread by drinking contaminated water or eating food that has been washed in it.

This method is called the faecal-oral route of infection – ie contaminated human faeces get into the water system, which is ingested by another person.

What are the symptoms of cholera?

The main symptom is sudden profuse watery diarrhoea which can rapidly cause dehydration and death.

How is cholera cured?

Severe cholera can be deadly, with babies and older people at particular risk.

However treatment is simple, with replacement fluid (oral rehydration salts – a balanced mix of clean water, sugar and salt) and antibiotics.

If a patient is severely dehydrated he might need a drip of these fluids going into a vein.

Prompt treatment can mean a quick and complete recovery.

How do I prevent cholera?

There is a cholera vaccine which is generally recommended for:

  • Aid workers in disaster areas and refugee camps
  • People travelling to remote areas with cholera outbreaks and little access to clean water and medical care.

Your travel health professional will help you ascertain your risk of cholera based on the latest health and outbreak data, your length of stay and proposed activities.

The cholera vaccine isn’t 100% effective and must be used with good food, water and personal hygiene.

For more travel health information look at this site: http://modernhealthandfitness.com/category/health-topics/travel-health

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