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What to Know About Vaccination Against Traveler’s Diarrhea

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Traveler’s Diarrhea

Thrill-seeking travellers who fly across the world in search of adventure know that it’s important to prepare everything for a smooth-sailing trip, but exploring destinations you’ve never been to can also come with unpleasant surprises. For one, travelling to tropical countries may seem like an initial paradise, but others find themselves encountering a common condition that plagues plenty of tourists: traveller’s diarrhea.

What is Traveler’s Diarrhea?

Travellers who go to hot, humid countries and consume contaminated food or water often cause traveller’s diarrhea due to the unfamiliar bacteria, viruses, or parasites in them. The condition can cause uncontrollable bowel movements, severe abdominal pain, cramps, and vomiting, and you can get it anywhere from countries like Africa, Asia (excluding Japan and South Korea), Central America, Mexico, Middle East, and South America.

What are the Bacteria Behind Traveler’s Diarrhea?

The most common bacteria behind traveller’s diarrhea is e coli, which can be found in water or foods that have not been treated properly due to a lack of resources. While diarrhea seems more uncomfortable than concerning, it can be fatal in rare cases; that’s why it’s important to avoid contracting traveller’s diarrhea in the first place.

With 30 to 70 percent of travellers getting this condition, it’s only right to look for a vaccine to prevent contracting traveller’s diarrhea for good, so you can fully enjoy your out-of-the-country escapades. Unfortunately, there is no preventive vaccine available yet for traveller’s diarrhea.

Does Cholera Vaccine Work Against Traveler’s Diarrhea?

It was a common misconception that the oral cholera vaccine could help prevent traveller’s diarrhea, but new studies show that it doesn’t do much to mitigate the condition. However, a 2013 study found that the Whole-cell/recombinant-B-subunit (WC/rBS) cholera vaccine works in a small percentage, lowering your risk of getting traveller’s diarrhea by up to a whopping 28 percent.

WC/rBS cholera vaccine may not completely prevent traveller’s diarrhea, but even a tiny chance of fighting against the bacteria should give you better peace of mind whenever you fly abroad. Unfortunately, the vaccine is only available to cholera-prone areas in Spain, so the next best alternative is a recently developed, single-dose, oral cholera vaccine known as (CVD 103-HgR) Vaxchora.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the Vaxchora back in June 2016, so travellers can freely opt for this vaccine to protect themselves from contracting traveller’s diarrhea and promote a safer trip across the world.

The Bottom Line: Traveling Safe with the Right Vaccinations

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending your vacation in pain due to traveller’s diarrhea. While it helps to follow the right protocol when exploring exotic foods and drinks, the best way to ensure you can spend a fun, stress-free, and healthy getaway in a hot country is to come prepared with the right vaccine, such as Vaxchora.

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