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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 be aware of the basic cholera facts and observe five basic cholera prevention recommendations.

A girl carrying a pail of water.

A girl carrying a pail of water.

What is Cholera Disease?

  • Cholera disease causes a lot of watery diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Cholera diarrhea can look like cloudy rice water.
  • Cholera can cause death from dehydration (the loss of water and salts from the body) within hours if not treated.

How is Cholera Spread?

  • Cholera germs are found in the feces (poop) of infected people.
  • Cholera is spread when feces (poop) from an infected person gets into the water people drink or the food people eat.
  • Cholera is not likely to spread directly from one person to another.

What to Do if You Think That You or Someone in Your Family has Cholera

  • If you have oral rehydration solution (ORS), start taking it now; it can save your life.
  • Go immediately to the nearest health facility. Continue to drink ORS at home and while you travel to get treatment.
  • Continue to breastfeed your baby if they have watery diarrhea, even when traveling to get treatment.

Five Basic Cholera Prevention Messages


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 U.S.. 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:

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

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