Cholera is a disease that causes diarrheal infection. It can occur when an individual ingests food or water with the cholera bacteria Vibrio cholera. The disease is found most commonly in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene. Cholera vaccinations are a safe preventative measure for individuals that live in an environment highly susceptible to infections.
Common candidates for the cholera vaccination might include backpackers traveling to areas of the world where medical care is unavailable and aide workers who are helping with disaster relief. At-risk travelers that have a suppressed immune system or gastrointestinal diseases may also consider the cholera vaccination. Individuals with serious health problems are more susceptible to a cholera infection and must also be protected. The cholera vaccination, however, should never be used as an alternative to taking standard, basic health precautions. Like any vaccination, there are pros and cons.
The most positive aspect of the cholera vaccine is that it can provide protection against the virus for up to two years if a single dose is administered. If an individual receives a booster at one year, the vaccine can last an additional one to two years. Additionally, a cholera vaccination can also provide protection against numerous strains of E. coli bacteria.
Dosages and scheduled boosters of the vaccine differ based on age. Adults and children over the age of six receive two doses of the vaccine and children between two and six receive three doses. Adults and children over six years old receive a single dose, with a booster given two years later. Children who are between the ages of two and six receive a booster after six months. Children under the age of two are not suitable candidates for the vaccine.
There are some potential consequences of taking a cholera vaccine. The vaccine can cause side effects. Some side effects are fever, headaches, and a vague feeling of discomfort. It is quite common for individuals to experience these reactions to the vaccine. Individuals might also experience pain, inflammation or a hardening of skin at the injection site. Other symptoms that can accompany a cholera vaccination include abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Another potential consequence is that there are unknown side effects of the vaccine. For example, researchers have not determined whether or not pregnant women can safely receive the vaccine. The possibility of someone experiencing an allergic reaction from the vaccine is also a potential consequence.