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What is the risk for cholera in the United States?
In the United States, cholera was prevalent in the 1800s but water-related spread has been eliminated by modern water and sewage treatment systems.
However, U.S. travelers to areas with epidemic cholera (for example, parts of Africa, Asia, or Latin America) may be exposed to the cholera bacterium. In addition, travelers may bring contaminated seafood back to the United States; foodborne outbreaks of cholera have been caused by contaminated seafood brought into the United States by travelers.
Where can a traveler get information about cholera?
The global picture of cholera changes periodically, so travelers should seek updated information on countries of interest. CDC has a Travelers' Health Website that contains information on cholera and other diseases of concern to travelers.
What is the U.S. government doing to combat cholera?
U.S. and international public health authorities are working to enhance surveillance for cholera, investigate cholera outbreaks, and design and implement preventive measures across the globe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigates epidemic cholera wherever it occurs at the invitation of the affected country and trains laboratory workers in proper techniques for identification of Vibrio cholerae. In addition, CDC provides information on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cholera to public health officials and educates the public about effective preventive measures.
The U.S. Agency for International Development sponsors some of the international U.S. government activities and provides medical supplies, and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to affected countries.
The Food and Drug Administration tests imported and domestic shellfish for V. cholerae and monitors the safety of U.S. shellfish beds through the shellfish sanitation program.
With cooperation at the state and local, national, and international levels, assistance will be provided to countries where cholera is present. The risk to U.S. residents remains small.
Last Editorial Review: 10/22/2010 3:56:25 PM