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All about: Cholera Vaccine

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Category

  • Immunizing agent, active

Description

Cholera

((KOL-era))

is a serious disease that can cause death. It is caused by a germ called Vibrio cholerae , and is spread most often through infected food or water. If you are traveling to cholera-infected areas, avoid eating uncooked food, especially fish and shellfish, and peel fruit yourself. Avoid water that may be infected; carbonated bottled water and carbonated soft drinks are safe.

Cholera is rare in the U.S. and other areas of the world that have good water and sewage (waste) systems. However, it is a problem in parts of the world that do not have such systems. If you are traveling to cholera-infected areas (e.g., developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America) cholera vaccine may help protect you from cholera.

Cholera vaccine given by injection may help prevent cholera, but provides only 25 to 50% protection. Therefore, it is very important to avoid infected persons and food and water that may be infected, even if you have received the vaccine.

To get the best possible protection against cholera, you should complete the vaccine dosing schedule before you travel to areas where you may be exposed to cholera.

If you will be staying in parts of the world where cholera is a problem, you should get a booster (repeat) dose of the vaccine every 6 months.

Cholera vaccine is to be administered only by or under the supervision of a doctor. It is available in the following dosage form:

  • Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S. and Canada)

Before Receiving This Vaccine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For cholera vaccine, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to cholera vaccine. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives.

Pregnancy—Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals.

Breast-feeding—This vaccine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children—Cholera vaccine is not recommended for infants up to 6 months of age.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information about the use of cholera vaccine in the elderly.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of cholera vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Severe illness with fever—The symptoms of this condition may be confused with the side effects of the vaccine

Proper Use of This Vaccine

Dosing—The dose of cholera vaccine will be different for different patients and must be determined by your doctor.

As long as the likelihood of exposure to cholera continues, you may need a booster dose every 6 months.

Side Effects of This Vaccine

Along with its needed effects, a vaccine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Rare

Difficulty in breathing or swallowing; hives; itching, especially of soles or palms; reddening of skin, especially around ears; swelling of eyes, face, or inside of nose; unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Fever; general feeling of discomfort or illness; headache; pain, redness, or swelling at place of injection

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Developed: 02/05/1996
Revised: 07/09/2003

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