Travelling and cholera

The risk of developing cholera is low if you're visiting an endemic area as you'll probably be staying in accommodation with adequate sanitation and running water.

If you're in doubt about what to eat or drink, the Centres for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, recommends a "Boil it, cook it or forget it" approach.

Here are some tips that will help keep you healthy:

  • Only drink water that has been boiled or treated with chlorine or iodine. Tea and coffee (made with boiled water) are a safe bet, as are carbonated or bottled drinks. Don't make the mistake of adding ice to your drinks as, chances are, it will have been made with untreated water;
  • Be sure to eat food that's thoroughly cooked and still hot;
  • Opt for fruit that can be peeled. Make sure you wash any fruit you eat in treated water;
  • Steer clear of raw or undercooked seafood and shellfish;
  • Make sure all vegetables are cooked and give salads a wide berth;
  • Although part of the fun of visiting a new country is eating the local cuisine, if there's a risk of cholera, avoid eating from street vendors who may not have access to clean water.

September 2001

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