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What is Traveller’s Diarrhea?

Traveller’s diarrhea (typically immunized against with the Dukoral vaccination) and cholera are caused by two different types of bacteria. The most common cause of travelers diarrhea is spred to humans People through contaminated food or drinking water.

Cholera infection can be life-threatening if severe and not treated.  The vaccine is given as a series of doses to be taken at home.

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What is traveller’s diarrhea and cholera vaccine?

The vaccine protects against traveller’s diarrhea and cholera, infections caused by two types of bacteria. The vaccine is approved by Health Canada.  The vaccine will give you some protection against these diseases. However, it is also very important to have good personal hygiene and to take food and drink precautions. For more information, please see Food and Water Safety.

Who should get the vaccine?

Persons travelling to or working in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Eastern or Southern Europe may need to get the vaccine. The travel clinic doctor or nurse will advise if you should receive the vaccine. A booster dose may be required if you continue to travel or work in these areas.

For protection from traveller’s diarrhea:

Adults and children 2 years of age and older are given two doses of oral vaccine (by mouth) to take at home. A booster dose may be required every 3 months.

For protection from cholera:

Adults and children over 6 years of age are given two doses of vaccine to take at home. A booster dose may be required every two years.  Children 2 to 6 years of age are given three doses of vaccine to take at home. A booster dose may be required every six months.

The vaccine offers protection about a week after taking the last dose.  The travel clinic will provide instructions on how to take the vaccine at home. It is important to follow the instructions.

Possible Reactions after the Vaccine

Reactions are usually mild and temporary. The most common reactions are stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is an extremely rare possibility of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. If this happens after you leave the clinic, call 911 or the local emergency number. This reaction can be treated, and occurs in less than one in a million people who get the vaccine.

**Report serious or unexpected reactions to your public health nurse or doctor.**

Who should not get the vaccine?

Speak with a travel clinic doctor or nurse if you:

  • have a history of a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of cholera vaccine, or any component of the vaccine including saccharin
  • currently have a fever or stomach illness.

Children under 2 years of age should not receive the vaccine.


For further information, please click Travel Health.

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