Travel Vaccines Dubai | 27 January 2022

Every year, about 4 million cases and 143,000 deaths due to cholera are recorded globally, of which 54% were from Africa.

Across the African continent, there is an ongoing outbreak of Cholera infection. Nine countries have reported cases as well as deaths to the World Health Organisation. These include the popular destinations of Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia.

In Kenya, outbreaks have occurred in the main Cities of Nairobi and Mombasa and in Zambia, the majority of cases are in Lusaka. The Zambian Authorities have now started a vaccination programme for the residents of Lusaka to prevent the spread.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal illness that is spread through contaminated food and water. Disease transmission is linked to poor access to clean water and sanitation facilities. As it is highly infectious, the disease can spread rapidly leading to outbreaks.

Maintaining food and water hygiene is key to prevention of cholera and other infections transmitted this way, such as hepatitis A and Typhoid.

All travellers from Dubai should:

– Only drink boiled or bottled water-it may be necessary to use bottled water to brush teeth also.

– Avoid any ice

– Only eat food that has been thoroughly cooked-avoid salads, uncooked fruit and vegetables.

– Avoid raw or under-cooked meat, fish and shellfish.

Vaccination is another method to reduce the risk of infection. The cholera vaccine is available as an injectable and can be given to individuals from 2 years and over. As the vaccine is inactivated, it cannot cause the disease and nor is the vaccinated person infectious afterwards.

Dr Barbara Karin Vela is an International Member of Royal College Of General Practitioners, UK

Travel Vaccines Dubai | 27 January 2022