Bacteria Home > Prevention for Vibrio Cholerae

When living or traveling in areas where cholera is prevalent, prevention for Vibrio cholerae typically involves avoiding contaminated water and food. There is currently no cholera vaccine available in the United States. Although there are two vaccines that are used in some other countries, they are not typically recommended for travelers.

An Overview of Prevention for Vibrio Cholerae

Cholera was prevalent in the 1800s, but has been virtually eliminated in the United States by modern water and sewage treatment systems. However, as a result of improved transportation, more people from the United States are traveling to parts of Africa, Asia, or Latin America, where epidemic cholera is occurring. For these people, prevention for Vibrio cholerae involves avoiding contaminated food and water.
In the United States, there is no cholera vaccine that is recommended as prevention for Vibrio cholerae.

Prevention for Vibrio Cholerae: Avoid Contaminated Food and Water

Travelers who follow the usual tourist itineraries and observe food safety recommendations while in countries reporting cholera have virtually no risk. Risk increases for those who drink untreated water, as well as those who eat poorly cooked or raw seafood in disease-endemic (prevalent) areas.
As prevention for Vibrio cholerae, all travelers who go to areas where cholera has occurred should observe the following recommendations:
  • Make sure that all vegetables are cooked, and avoid salads.
  • Do not bring perishable seafood back to the United States.
  • Eat only foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are still hot, or fruit that you have peeled yourself.
  • Drink only water that you have boiled, or treated with chlorine or iodine. Other safe beverages include tea and coffee made with boiled water, and carbonated, bottled beverages with no ice.
  • Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors.
  • Avoid undercooked or raw fish or shellfish, including ceviche (raw seafood marinated in lime or lemon juice).
A simple rule of thumb for prevention for Vibrio cholerae is: "Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it."
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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