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    CDC recommends cholera vaccine for certain U.S. travelers

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that adults traveling to areas of active cholera transmission receive a recently-approved, single-dose oral vaccine.

    The vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016 after a fast-track and priority review designation. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) finalized its recommendation in May, making it the only U.S.-approved vaccine against cholera. Three other vaccines are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) but are not available in the United States.

    Cholera is a bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Spread through contaminated water supplies and poor hygiene, cholera is active in more than 50 countries around the world, predominantly in Africa and India, according to WHO.

    The vaccine is not generally recommended for most travelers in the U.S. since they don’t frequently travel to areas of active cholera transmission, according to ACIP, but there was an increase in reported cases among U.S. travelers to Haiti after a 2010 hurricane. Cholera is also endemic in several top destinations for U.S. travelers, including China, the Dominican Republic, India, Jamaica and the Philippines. No countries currently request cholera vaccination for travel.

    The vaccine does not replace prevention measures like utilizing safe food and water and practicing good hygiene, but it does reduce the chances of severe diarrhea by 90% at 10 days after vaccination and by 80% at three months after vaccination, according to ACIP. The vaccine has not been testing in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and research has not yet identified how effective the vaccine is three to six months after vaccination. Side effects include tiredness, headache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite and diarrhea.

    Next: Efficacy of the vaccine

    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Rachael Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare ...

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