Traveling to Africa, Asia, or the Caribbean?

CDC finalizes cholera vaccine recommendation for international travelers
Travel (Vax Before Travel)

Health officials have finalized their vaccine recommendation for adult travelers to cholera "hot-zones."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends overseas travelers use Vaxchora™ for active immunization against cholera.

Vaxchora is a single-dose, live oral cholera vaccine that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2016 for prevention of cholera caused by serogroup O1.

Two other oral cholera vaccines, Dukoral and ShanChol, are available outside of the USA. These vaccines require two doses and can take weeks to confer protection according to the CDC.

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the bacteria Vibrio cholerae. Although cholera is rare in the US, it can kill people quickly if not treated immediately.

"Cholera represents a rising global public health challenge," said Jason Harris, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. "Its prevalence has increased since the start of the millennium and outbreaks continue to have devastating effects. In addition, the number of countries where cholera is endemic has increased and the disease is now endemic in over 60 countries," said Dr. Harris.

There are an estimated 3 million cholera cases per year around the world.

Additionally, more than 8 million U.S. travelers per year going to countries where cholera occurs. Of the top 20 countries visited most often by U.S. overseas travelers, 5 are to cholera-endemic countries (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, China, India, and the Philippines).

All travelers going to areas with cholera should use and drink safe water, cook food thoroughly, and wash their hands properly to prevent cholera infection. Travelers who develop severe diarrhea should seek immediate medical attention and start therapy to replace lost body fluids and electrolytes as soon as possible.

Information about active cholera transmission is available here

The final recommendation was published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.