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Get Vaccinated for Cholera Before You Travel
Posted: Jan 4th, 2017 at 12:00AM
If you're planning on traveling in any developing part of the world, it's a good idea to make sure that you're vaccinated against cholera. Thankfully, the FDA has approved a vaccine for use in the US and those who are traveling can enjoy some level of protection from this potentially lethal disease.
A Bit About Cholera
Cholera is a frequently dangerous infection, and in many areas of the world, you'll find that it can run rampant. Cholera is the reason why many places have recommendations on the food you can eat and the warnings against taking in the untreated local water in any form.
Cholera is caused by certain strains of a bacteria known as Vibrio cholerae. The known serotypes of the bacteria are O1 and O139. The infection itself can be asymptomatic, or nearly so, but in 5-10% of cases it will progress into a serious problem for the affected individual.
The infection often has a rapid onset which can sometimes within a matter of hours and can cause severe dehydration through vomiting and diarrhea. In general, it will take a person two to three days to show symptoms, however, and it can take as long as five days.
The massive amounts of water expelled by some with an acute infection of the bacteria can cause some pretty shocking side effects including muscle cramps, blood pressure dropping, and in extreme cases coma and death.
Untreated, cholera kills roughly 50% of the people it infects. It's a very, very serious disease and one should take precautions against getting infected while traveling. Even when treated immediately, the fatality rate of the disease runs about five percent, which should be more than enough to convince you that utilizing the vaccine is a good idea.
For the most part, the primary vector that cholera will travel through is unsanitized water. Remember that tap water isn't sterile, and if you're in a country where cholera is endemic you'll want to stick to bottled water for ANY water usage you might undertake, including cooking, brushing your teeth, and drinking.
In other countries, it's important not to eat raw foods as well, since cholera can also infect food. Make sure to check travel advisories before you take your trip, in order to make sure that you know what to avoid on the road
Vaxchora is the first cholera vaccine approved for usage in the United States. The administration is in a single oral dose, which makes it easier to deal with than many vaccines which you might need while traveling abroad.
The vaccine is about 85% effective at promoting immunity within the treated individual although the effectiveness decreases over the course of a few months. Don't let the seemingly low percentage deter you from receiving the vaccine, however. In many areas where cholera vaccines have been applied properly the chances of catching it decrease exponentially due to herd immunity preventing the bacteria from gaining a stronghold.
For the US traveler in infected countries, the long-awaited FDA approval of the vaccine is a blessing. You'll find yourself able to travel more at ease, although you'll still want to take the usual precautions in order to further minimize chances of infection.
The approval of this vaccine has big implications for those who wish to travel abroad in areas where the disease is endemic. Since this includes some of the most beautiful places in the developing world, traveling without fear offers a major advantage.
If you're planning on traveling in certain regions of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Thailand, or if your destination is nearly anywhere in Africa, it's a good idea to make sure that you're vaccinated in order to offer yourself protection from cholera.
As a final bonus: we have the vaccine in stock and ready to administer for anyone who might be looking to broaden their horizons with travel to regions where the infection might be present.
Side Effects of Vaxchora
Like all vaccines, there's a small number of side effects which may present in those who are administered Vaxchora.
The most common side effects which present when the vaccine is administered are tiredness and headaches which both occurred in about 30% of those who were given the medicine during the initial trials. In most people, these side effects were very minor, with less than a percentage point of patients reporting severe side effects in either case.
Less common side effects include nausea and vomiting and a lack of appetite. These occurred in about 15% of patients, and around 4% experiences diarrhea. The risk of running a fever is fairly negligible, only occurring in less than a single percent of patients who had taken the vaccine.
Overall, the safety profile of Vaxchora is impressive, and the high effectiveness of the vaccine makes this single dose, oral vaccine rather impressive. We highly recommend you take it if you're planning on being anywhere that cholera runs rampant, at the worst it'll save you from contracting the asymptomatic form, and at its best, you'll find yourself immune to a potentially debilitating illness.
Making an Appointment
We currently offer the vaccine and have it in stock for any travelers who might come across the disease. If you're looking to take the only FDA approved vaccination for cholera, we have it ready and waiting for you once you call and make an appointment.
Don't take any chances, make sure you get vaccinated before traveling anywhere that you might run the risk of contracting cholera. Even a minor case can ruin an otherwise fantastic trip and if you contract an acute case of the infection you'll be in big trouble.
Make your appointment at least four weeks before you leave for the best results as the vaccine takes some time to be effective. Don't wait! Make sure that you're vaccinated and you'll be able to rest easy on your travels and be immune to one of the most common infections in the world.
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