Cholera is a bacterial infection, spread through infected food and water, or from one infected person to another, through the faecal-oral route. This means a person will need to come into contact with infected faeces to contract the infection. In areas where sanitation and sewage disposal is of a poor standard, Cholera is more prominent.
The infection causes severe diarrhoea and can eventually lead to death through dehydration. The incubation of cholera ranges from a few hours to five days, and first presents itself with very severe, watery diarrhoea sometimes loosing up to a litre of fluids an hour. This will cause the body to dehydrate at a rapid rate, thus meaning it is now that the infected person should be seeking to replenish the body as much as possible.Who is at risk of Cholera?
Cholera is more frequent in areas where hygiene and sanitation is of a low standard. These areas include, but is not restricted to, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In less built up areas, further inland and away from the tourist trails, are also more likely to have poor levels of sanitation.How can I prevent Cholera?
Most people tend to be cautious when travelling abroad with regards to food and water. However, you should exercise even cautious when travelling to the areas detailed above, as a precautionary measure.
Ensure you always use bottled water, and remember ice will be made using local tap water, so it may be better to avoid ice in your cold drinks. Food products that could potentially put a traveller at risk include raw fish and seafood , and any food that has been washed in potentially unclean water. It may be better to avoid these while in a region deemed a risk of transmission. Bringing water to the boil will also help to protect the traveller from contamination, as will strict personal hygiene.
Vaccination is available, however it is not normally recommended for travellers. Please speak with your GP regarding this before you travel.