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The cholera vaccine

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Preventing cholera

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestines by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but sometimes it can be severe. The cholera vaccine is recommended for people traveling outside the US to high-risk areas.

Cholera Slide

What is cholera?

Cholera is a bacterial infection that leads to watery diarrhea,  and can degenerate into life-threatening dehydration. It's caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacteria Vibrio cholerae.

Who gets it?

The vaccine has been administered to people in East Asia as well as South America, but is not recommended for routine use in the United States. Only people traveling to high-risk cholera areas should receive it.

What are the side effects?

Common side effects from the vaccine include stomach pain and headaches.

Vaccine recommendation

The vaccine is not currently available for routine use in the United States.

What you need to know

If you're traveling to an area where cholera is prevalent, there are ways other than just vaccination to prevent infection: Drink only boiled or bottled water, eat only foods you can peel, avoid uncooked foods and fish, and do not eat food from street vendors.

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