Cholera is a disease spread by drinking water or eating food contaminated with toxigenic Vibrio cholerae bacteria. Severe cholera is characterized by large amounts of watery diarrhea, often described as “rice-water stool” because it can have a pale, milky appearance. It can also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. If untreated, the loss of fluid can be deadly. But simple treatment, including replacing lost body fluids, can lower mortality to less than 1%. From 2010 through 2014, 91 cases of cholera were confirmed in the United States among people who had traveled internationally in the week before illness onset. Of these, 75% were associated with travel to the Caribbean, and 10% were associated with travel to India or Pakistan. Cholera can be prevented by heeding food and water precautions and receiving cholera vaccine before travel.
During this COCA Call, CDC travel medicine subject matter expert and infectious diseases physician Dr. Kristina Angelo and food and water expert Dr. Erin Conners will:
– Highlight critical information about cholera biology and prevention;
– Discuss strategies primary care providers and medical subspecialists can use to decrease the likelihood of cholera illness in their patients; and
– Review CDC resources on the epidemiology of cholera vaccine to use in clinical decision making about offering vaccine to patients.