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Cholera (Vaxchora)

What is it?

Cholera is a disease caused by the bacteriumVibrio cholerae. These symptoms often include diarrhea, vomiting, leg cramps, thirst, and restlessness. 

More than 1.3 million people worldwide get cholera every year, and approximately 10% of people who get cholera experience symptoms. Although most people who get cholera do not experience symptoms, it can be a severe, and sometimes deadly disease. Because it can cause vomiting and diarrhea, people with cholera can become severely dehydrated very rapidly, which can cause kidney failure and death. More than 20,000 people worldwide die each year from cholera.

Cholera spreads when people consume food or water contaminated withVibrio cholerae bacteria. This contamination is often caused by infected feces (poop). 

The cholera vaccine, Vaxchora, is approved for people ages 2-64. It protects against the O1 serogroup ofVibrio cholerae. There are two serogroups of Vibrio cholerae that can cause disease (O1 and O139), but O1 is responsible for all recent outbreaks.

Cholera is also an interesting and crucial part of scientific history. A particular outbreak of cholera in 1854 in London fundamentally shaped our modern understanding of how diseases spread (epidemiology).

Click here to watch a short video about this historic outbreak and its impacts.  

Vaccine Information:

Active Ingredients:

A live, attenuated version of Vibrio cholerae from the O1 serogroup

Inctive Ingredients:

Definitions

  • Antioxidant: a type of compound found in many foods that protects against free radicals, which are harmful substances linked to cancer and heart disease

  • Attenuated: The pathogen is weakened but not completely inactivated. Attenuated pathogens are too weak to cause disease in almost all people. 

  • Bacteria: A type of single-celled organism. Some can cause disease, but many are harmless and some actually benefit humans by living in the intestines and helping with digestion 

  • Bacterium: The singular of bacteria (one bacterium, two bacteria)

  • Buffer: Used to prevent pH changes 

  • Serogroup: a group of strains within a species that share a particular type of surface structure. 

  • Strain: Within a particular species there can be a lot of genetic diversity. A strain refers to one member of that species. 

  • Vaccine Efficacy: How much a vaccine reduces your chance of getting a disease

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