Cholera (cont.)

Should I be worried about getting cholera from others?

The disease is not likely to spread directly from one person to another; therefore, casual contact with an infected person is not a risk for becoming ill.

How can I avoid getting cholera?

The risk for cholera is very low for people visiting areas with epidemic cholera. When simple precautions are observed, contracting the disease is unlikely.

All people (visitors or residents) in areas where cholera is occurring or has occurred should observe the following recommendations:

  • Drink only bottled, boiled, or chemically treated water and bottled or canned carbonated beverages. When using bottled drinks, make sure that the seal has not been broken.

    • To disinfect your own water: boil for 1 minute or filter the water and add 2 drops of household bleach or ½ an iodine tablet per liter of water.

    • Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water.

  • If no water and soap are available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner (with at least 60% alcohol).

    • Clean your hands especially before you eat or prepare food and after using the bathroom.

  • Use bottled, boiled, or chemically treated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, or make ice.

  • Eat foods that are packaged or that are freshly cooked and served hot.

    • Do not eat raw and undercooked meats and seafood or unpeeled fruits and vegetables.

  • Dispose of feces in a sanitary manner to prevent contamination of water and food sources

Is a vaccine available to prevent cholera?

Currently, there are two oral cholera vaccines available, Dukoral (manufactured by SBL Vaccines) which is World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified and licensed in over 60 countries, and ShanChol (manufactured by Shantha Biotec in India), which is licensed in India and is pending WHO prequalification. Because the vaccine is a two dose vaccine, multiple weeks can elapse before persons receiving the vaccine are protected. Therefore, vaccination should not replace standard prevention and control measures. In addition, CDC does not recommend cholera vaccines for most travelers, nor is the vaccine available in the United States. This is because the available vaccines offer incomplete protection for a relatively short period of time.

Further information about Dukoral can be obtained from the manufacturers:

SBL Vaccin AB,
SE-105 21 Stockholm, Sweden
telephone +46-8-7351000,

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