NHS Services


Cholera Vaccine

Cholera is an infection that can cause severe diarrhoea. It’s not found in the UK, but there’s a very small risk of getting it while travelling in some parts of the world.

You can catch cholera from:

  • drinking unclean water
  • eating food (particularly shellfish) that’s been in unclean water
  • eating food that’s been handled by an infected person

It’s mainly found in places without a clean water supply or modern sewage system, such as parts of Africa and Asia.

About the vaccine

There’s a vaccine available for cholera. It’s usually only recommended if either:

  • you’re travelling to an area where cholera is common and you’ll be visiting remote places without access to medical care
  • you’re an aid or disaster relief worker going to an area where a cholera outbreak is likely

The vaccine is given as a drink. For adults, 2 doses (given 1 to 6 weeks apart) can provide protection for up to 2 years.

You need to have had both doses at least a week before travelling.

Whent to see a doctor

  • have bloody diarrhoea or bleeding from your bottom
  • keep vomiting and are unable to keep down fluid
  • have diarrhoea for more than 7 days or vomiting for more than 2 days

Tell the doctor if you have been in an area where cholera is found in the last few weeks.

You may need treatment to stop you becoming dangerously dehydrated.

How to avoid Cholera while travelling?


  • wash your hands with soap and water regularly, especially after using the toilet and before preparing food or eating
  • only drink tap water that’s been boiled or bottled water
  • brush your teeth using bottled or boiled water


  • do not eat uncooked fruit and vegetables (including salads) that you haven’t washed with bottled or boiled water and prepared yourself
  • do not eat shellfish and seafood
  • do not eat ice cream or have ice in your drinks

Who cannot have the vaccine?

There are few individuals who would be unable to receive the oral cholera vaccine when indicated.

The vaccine should not be given to those who have had:

  • confirmed anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of oral cholera vaccine
  • confirmed anaphylactic reaction to formaldehyde or any of the components of the vaccine



Antimalarial medication is used to prevent and treat malaria.

Vaccination against typhoid fever is recommended.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus

Cholera is an infection that can cause severe diarrhea. 

Rabies is a rare but very serious infection of the brain and nerves.

The MenACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm

Diphtheria is a highly contagious and potentially fatal infection. 

Get your travel vaccinations and medication