Cholera Epidemic in Yemen Continues

CDC recommends overseas travelers use Vaxchora for active immunization against cholera

The cholera outbreak in Yemen continues to expand. Last week, the number of reported cholera cases in Yemen was 32,978, with 24 deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said there have been a total of 430,401 suspected cholera cases and 1,903 deaths in Yemen through July 2017.

The reported cholera case-fatality rate is 0.4%.

A person is at risk for cholera when eating food or drinks water contaminated with cholera bacteria.

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.

The key to treating cholera is to replace lost body fluids. Antibiotics can shorten the length of illness and help prevent loss of fluids in people with cholera.

Dr. Nevio Zagaria, the head of WHO’s office in Yemen said, "Stamp out cholera in these places and we can slow the spread of the disease and save lives. At the same time, we’re continuing to support early and proper treatment for the sick and conducting prevention activities across the country.”

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

Additionally, more than 8 million U.S. travelers per year visit countries where cholera occurs. The top five cholera-endemic countries are the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, China, India, and the Philippines.

“The cholera outbreak is making a bad situation for children drastically worse. Many of the children who have died from the disease were also acutely malnourished”, said Dr Meritxell Relano, UNICEF’s Representative in Yemen.

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 in 2016 for prevention of cholera caused by serogroup O1. Vaxchora is approved for use in adults 18 through 64 years of age traveling to cholera-affected areas. 

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.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the current private sector vaccine prices for general information.

If you are seriously ill and think you may have cholera, visit a health care provider immediately and tell him or her about where you have recently traveled.