In recent years, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Mexico have reported cases of cholera. No new cases of cholera have been reported in Cuba since September 2014.
However, in January 2015, Canada reported a case of cholera in a traveller who returned from a trip to Cuba.
Since the beginning of the cholera epidemic in October 2010, the Dominican Republic and Haiti have reported thousands of cholera cases and related deaths. Although cases of cholera continue to be reported throughout both countries, the number of cases has decreased in 2014 when compared to the same time period in 2013. Travellers should note that there may be an increase in the number of cases during seasonal heavy rainfall which occurs during the months of May to July and September to October.
In 2013, Mexico was affected by tropical cyclones, which caused heavy rains, floods and landslides. Cases of cholera were reported in the Federal district (Mexico City), and the states of Hidalgo, Mexico, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz. In 2014, cases were mainly reported in the state of Hidalgo and one case was reported in the state of Querétaro.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. People usually become infected from drinking or eating contaminated water or food. It is associated with watery diarrhea and rapid dehydration, which can be life-threatening.
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends practising safe food and water precautions while in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti or Mexico.
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
- Practise safe food and water precautions
- Consider getting vaccinated
- Most travellers are at low risk. Travellers at high risk for cholera (travellers visiting areas of high risk with limited access to clean water and food) may benefit from vaccination and should consult with a health care provider to discuss this option.
- If you develop severe diarrhea and/or vomiting while travelling or after you return to Canada
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Drink fluids and use oral rehydration salts to prevent dehydration.
- Infants, young children and the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at greatest risk of dehydration.
- If you are still ill upon arrival into Canada, please tell the flight attendant before you land or the border services officer as you exit the flight.
Photo Credit: WHO