Included in our vaccines we have oral vaccines for cholera. It is important be protected against cholera by simple vaccination. It is important to vaccinate against cholera if travelling to a country where reports of an active cholera outbreak is high. Cholera can cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea, which results in the loss of salt and water leading to extreme dehydration. In cholera, diarrhoea can be up to 20 litres a day in an adult and fatal in small children and babies. There are around 100, 000 to 130,000 people who die from this disease every year.
Cholera is prominent in areas where it is known to have poor food and water hygiene and poor sanitation. The disease is not common in the UK. Most infections are acquired in India, Bangladesh and parts of Africa, Asia, Haiti, the Middle East, South America and the Pacific.
Cholera is caused by bacteria that infect people who unknowingly ingest contaminated water or food containing the bacteria usually from an infected person’s faeces. Person-to-person spread via the faeco-oral route can also occur.
Eating poorly cooked seafood or drinking untreated water in endemic areas carries a high risk.
Large outbreaks are frequent after natural disasters or in war zones where there is contaminated water from inadequate sewage disposal.
Humanitarian relief workers in disaster areas living in unsanitary conditions are also at risk.
A large proportion of those infected may be asymptomatic but can excrete the organism for up to 7-14 days. The incubation period is usually 2-5 days but sometimes only a few hours. (1)
Some people develop a form of diarrhoea that is moderate and indistinguishable from gastroenteritis. However 10% develop very profuse diarrhoea that is a characteristic symptom of the disease.
Sudden onset of profuse, watery diarrhoea with nausea and vomiting.
The volume of fluid lost can be up to 20 litres a day.
If not replaced, heavy fluid loss rapidly leads to serious dehydration and circulatory collapse, hypovolaemic shock and possible death.
Cholera is a water-borne infection caught by ingestion of faecal contaminated water and/or food i.e. shellfish.
Dukoral®) is available in the U.K. and is the only vaccine for cholera. It is not routinely given for most travellers. However for certain people travelling to places where cholera may occur. Our doctor or nurse will advise if you should consider having this vaccine.
Examples of people who are likely to be at risk include:
Aid workers, health workers, etc, working in emergency relief camps where cholera has broken out.
People planning on staying for an extended time in an area where thecholera risk is high; especially in an area where there is limited access to medical care.
The vaccine should only be considered if the risk of cholera is high as it is not yet known the safety of this vaccine for breast-feeding or pregnant women.
Side-effects are uncommon but mayinclude tiredness, headache, tummy pains, diarrhoea or nausea, and lass of appetite for a short time after taking the vaccine.
Where there is no proper sanitation the bacteria can infect the drinking water as well as public water supplies. Contaminated water may also be inthe ice cubes of drinks as well as washed salad vegetables. Assume that meals prepared in unsanitary areas may be contaminated.
If you plan on travelling to an area of high-risk, make sure to avoid using ice made from tap water. Additionally, eat only food served hot and well-cooked. Make sure to avoid eating raw seafood as well as raw vegetables. If you can, peel any fruits as a precautionary measure. Besides raw food and ice, you should also avoid ice cream as it may also contain the bacteria as well.
The oral vaccine can be used by adults and children aged two years and over. To make sure it is absorbed fully you should not eat or drink anything for an hour before and after taking a dose of the vaccine.
The vaccination courses are:
Two doses for people over 6 years old.
Three doses for children 2-6 years old.
Given at least one week apart, but no later than six weeks apart.
The vaccinations should ideally be finished at least one week before travel.
A booster dose is needed after two years for people over 6 years old, and six months for children 2-6 years old. The cholera vaccine can be given at the same time as other injected vaccines.
It is important to remember that the vaccine does not provide complete protection. I.e. it does not protect against all strains of cholera. Therefore, you should be aware and careful with what you eat and drink in the usual way.
The most important thing to do if you are concerned that you or your family members might contract cholera is to get the vaccine. It is an oral medication so no needles to contend with. If you plan on travelling to areas of high risk, we recommend you make an appointment and discuss with us your options for vaccine packages and further travel suggestions to keep you safe.
It is important to visit the doctor at least a couple of months before your trip as updates and changes do happen periodically. Vaccine requirement depends on your length of stay, any pre-existing health conditions, and your health generally. Our doctor will ensure that you are adequately covered and receive the necessary up-to-date vaccines and medicines for your protection.
We can help you get the correct recommended vaccines at an affordable price. (See our prices and fees page for more information). Our vaccines are consistently updated depending on the current requirements.
You can feel confident that you are in safe hands. We work side by side with the health authorities to make sure we provide you with all the vaccines you need for safe travel.
Our clinic is registered and certified to administer Yellow Fever vaccines and will provide you with the necessary documentation for entry into certain countries that insist on it.
If you following the correct advice and appropriate health cover to remote areas, including India your visit will be an uneventful and enjoyable one.
Our website provides the latest information on vaccine requirement and additional medications for the rest of the world. Check out the rest of the pages on this site to learn about the vaccines needed and additional medicines required for destinations abroad and to other areas of interest. An excellent website recommended is the Fitfortravel NHS website where you can get the latest and comprehensive information to keep you safe.
References: ¬(1) Prevention and control of cholera outbreaks: WHO policy and recommendations; World Health Organization
All information has been licensed under the Open Government Licence. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/
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At Walk in Clinic, we provide convenient and affordable private gp services to patients. If you are staying, visiting or working in London, then our gp appointments can be conducted in person by walking in at the clinic.