CHOLERA IS AN ACUTE INTESTINAL INFECTION RESULTING FROM FOOD AND WATER CONTAMINATED WITH VIBRIO CHOLERAE BACTERIA.
The symptoms include profuse watery diarrhea which may have the appearance of what is called “rice water stools”. Severe dehydration can rapidly ensue which can be life threatening.
According to Public Heath Canada (See the travel heath notice by visiting this link: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/notices-avis/notices-avis-eng.php?id=111) cases of cholera are still being reported in travellers to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Haiti and Cuba.
The Dominican Republic, Mexico and Cuba are amongst the most popular vacation destinations to thousands of Canadian travellers. This fact, along with the seriousness of cholera as a travel acquired infection, should alert both travel doctors and travellers.
Every single measure should be employed to avoid this serious illness which can more than ruin someone’s vacation.
Practicing food and water safety (See: Food and Water Safety section) is a priority for all travellers to those destinations.
Fortunately, a safe and effective vaccine is available to protect against cholera. Consult your travel doctor to get vaccinated. Food and water safety and vaccination do not replace seeking medical advice abroad if the traveller thinks he or she might have cholera. If you have diarrhea or nausea and vomiting you must seek medical advice immediately, whether you are abroad or back in your home country.
Do not forget your travel health insurance (See: Before You Go section)!
To prevent dehydration, start drinking fluids or Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS are available in most pharmacies and are better bought before departure and taken with the traveller) on first appearance of symptoms until you are able to get appropriate medical care, as mentioned above.
Particular care should be taken with children and elderly as they can suffer from severe dehydration much quicker than healthy adults.
Safety and good preparation are the keys to enjoying your vacation!