Be prepared to treat cholera in travelers from certain countries, CDC tells clinicians

Clinicians should be prepared to treat cholera in travelers returning from countries with widespread cholera outbreaks, the CDC said in a Dec. 5 advisory. 

So far this year, the agency said there have been eight cases of cholera among travelers who have returned to the U.S. from Pakistan, Iraq and Bangladesh. Specifically, clinicians should consider cholera in patients with "acute onset of watery diarrhea" who have returned from affected regions.

"Although cholera in travelers is rare and sustained community transmission in the United States is unlikely, widespread cholera outbreaks in other countries highlight the need for clinicians in the United States to be prepared to treat travelers with cholera, as they could arrive in the U.S. at any time," the advisory said. 

The CDC also provided cholera testing and treatment recommendations for clinicians, pharmacies and laboratories. The agency estimates there are between 1.3 million and 4 million cases of cholera globally each year. The acute diarrheal infection is caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with Vibrio cholerae and can be fatal if not treated quickly. 

View the full advisory here

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