Travelling to any destination will bring about its own challenges and health concerns. When it comes to travelling anywhere where cholera is present, travellers can take a few precautions to become prepared and stay safe on their trip.

What is cholera?

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection. It occurs as a result of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae reaching the small intestine through contamination.

How can you get cholera?

You could become infected with cholera by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated. The bacteria of cholera can be found in the feces of a person who is infected, which means that travellers to geographic areas that have drinking water or sewage that are poorly treated have the highest risk. 

If you are travelling to an impoverished or overcrowded area, you should stay aware of the risks of becoming infected. Travellers to Africa and Asia will have the highest risk, while those going to Central and South America have a smaller risk but should still remain aware of the causes and symptoms.

Seafood or shellfish in particular that has not been cooked well enough could remain contaminated by the water that contains the bacteria. If these foods or others are handled by anyone with cholera, you also have an increased risk of becoming infected.

What symptoms appear if you develop cholera?

The majority of people who develop this infection will not show any symptoms. Those that do may have diarrhea which may or not may include vomiting. A severe case of cholera could cause frequent watery diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and leg cramps. Severe dehydration and death can occur in the worst cases.

How can you protect yourself?

A Cholera vaccine can be taken that will protect you for six months. The most basic way to stay protected while travelling is to watch what you eat and drink. If you require one, please visit our travel clinic in North Vancouver.