Cholera is an infection that can cause severe diarrhoea. It’s not found in the UK, but there’s a minimal risk of getting it while travelling in some parts of the world. That’s why it’s important to get your cholera vaccination in Birmingham and across the UK before you travel.
Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera, is usually found in food or water contaminated by faeces from a person with the infection. Common sources include:
– Municipal water supplies
– Ice made from municipal water
– Foods and drinks sold by street vendors
– Vegetables grown with water containing human waste
– Raw or undercooked fish and seafood caught in waters polluted with sewage
When a person consumes contaminated food or water, the bacteria release toxins that produce severe diarrhoea in the intestines.
The risk of getting it while travelling is minimal.
It’s mainly widespread in places without a clean water supply or modern sewage systems, such as parts of Africa and Asia.
Symptoms of cholera can begin as soon as a few hours or as long as five days after infection. Often, symptoms are mild, but sometimes they are very serious. About one in 20 people infected have severe watery diarrhoea accompanied by vomiting, which can quickly lead to dehydration. Although many infected people may have minimal or no symptoms, they can still contribute to the spread of the infection.
Good hygiene can help stop you from getting ill while travelling in areas where cholera is prevalent.
– Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, especially after using the toilet and before preparing food or eating
– Only drink tap water that’s been boiled or bottled water
– Brush your teeth using bottled or boiled water
If you develop severe, watery diarrhoea and vomiting — particularly after eating raw shellfish or travelling to a country where cholera is epidemic — seek medical help immediately. Cholera is highly treatable, but it’s important to get cholera treatment right away because dehydration can happen quickly.
Hydration is the mainstay of treatment for cholera. Depending on how severe the diarrhoea is, treatment will consist of oral or intravenous solutions to replace lost fluids. Antibiotics, which kill the bacteria, are not part of emergency treatment for mild cases. But they can reduce the duration of diarrhoea by half and reduce the excretion of the bacteria, thus helping to prevent the spread of the disease.
There’s a vaccine that can protect you from cholera.
It’s usually advisable to get the vaccination if either:
– You’re travelling to an area where cholera is common, and you’ll be visiting remote places without access to the medical care
– You’re an aid or disaster relief worker going to an area where a cholera outbreak is likely
The vaccine is given as a drink. 2 doses (given 1 to 6 weeks apart) can provide protection for up to 2 years for adults.
Contact us to book your vaccine.