Infection The cholera bacteria is transmitted trough food and water and is a common infection in areas with poor hygienic conditions where sewage may contaminate drinking water.
The oral vaccine contain killed cholera bacteria and recombinant cholera toxin.
The vaccine is swallowed and gives protection for 2 years after 2 doses. A single dose (booster) given 2 to 5 years after the initial tow doses provides protection for another 2 years and so on.
The vaccine also provide a reasonable protection against so called “tourist diarrhoea” caused to toxin producing E. coli bacteria. This protection last for 6 months after the initial two doses and a single dose prolong the protection for another 6 months.
Symptoms Multiple, watery diarrhoea "rice-water diarrhoea" without fever is typical.
Diagnosis The bacteria can be cultured from faeces.
Treatment The fluid loss is many litres daily and fluid replacement is mandatory. Intravenous treatment is necessary in severe cases. Antibiotics early may shorten the course.
Prevention Avoid potentially contaminated drinking water and food, which may have been washed in unclean water.Food, which is not usually boiled or fried before being eaten, is a special risk. Especially shellfish, mussels and oysters, which may live in sewage, contaminated water, are know to concentrate bacteria and are usually not boiled thoroughly before consumption.
More about cholera Cholera is a disease of poverty and is rare in travellers. Cholera occurs all the time in smaller and larger outbreaks in Africa, and certain countries in Asia especially Bangladesh. Cholera has spread all over South America since 1990.
Outbreaks are so common that they are usually not reported.
Further information:W.H.O. - Cholera