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Travel Health

Cholera and Dukoral® Vaccine

​​​What is cholera?​

Cholera is an infection caused by a bacteria. It can cause very bad diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. It’s normally treated by replacing lost fluids. You might also be treated with antibiotics.

How is cholera spread?

Cholera is spread by drinking water or eating food that’s contaminated with the bacteria. It can happen in areas where there’s a lack of clean, safe water.

How do I know if I’m travelling to an area that puts me at risk for cholera?

Most travellers are not at risk for cholera. You don’t need a document saying that you’ve had the cholera vaccine to enter any country.

To find out if you’re at risk for cholera, contact a travel health services clinic in your area.

What is Dukoral®?

Dukoral® is a vaccine that helps prevent cholera. It can be given to anyone over 2 years old. The vaccine is taken by mouth. Dukoral® protects you from cholera for 2 years.

The Dukoral® vaccine is recommended for people travelling to an outbreak area, especially if they're working in aid or refugee camps.

If you get the vaccine, you still need to stay away from food and water that might be contaminated. Good handwashing is also important as the vaccine doesn’t provide 100% protection.

Does Dukoral® help prevent traveller’s diarrhea?

Anyone who travels is at risk for traveller’s diarrhea. Dukoral® may provide some protection against 1 bacteria that causes traveller’s diarrhea, but​ is not recommended for most travellers as protection against traveller’s diarrhea. CATMAT (Committee to Advice on Tropical Medicine and Travel) suggests that the oral cholera vaccine (licensed in Canada as Dukoral) not be routinely given to Canadian travellers as a means of preventing traveller’s diarrhea. Discuss with a travel health professional if you have any questions.

It’s still a good idea to carry treatment for traveller’s diarrhea. Treatment for traveller’s diarrhea includes:

  • an over-the-counter medicine (e.g., Tums®, Pepto Bismol®, Imodium®)

  • and

  • ​​​a broad spectrum antibiotic

You need a prescription from a travel clinic or your family doctor ​​for the antibiotic.

​​

Current as of: April 3, 2019

Author: Traveller’s Health Services, Alberta Health Services