Risks of cholera
Learn about the risks of cholera and who is most at risk.
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What are the risks of getting cholera?
In general, your risk of getting cholera in Canada is very low.
Travellers to countries reporting cholera outbreaks are also generally at a low risk provided they follow:
If you are travelling to visit friends and relatives, you are more likely to eat local food and be exposed to untreated water. This can put you at a greater risk for food and water-borne diseases, like cholera.
Who is most at risk?
You have a higher risk of getting cholera while travelling to areas where there is:
- poor sanitation
- lower standards of cleanliness
- limited access to safe food and water
Most Canadians who develop cholera get the disease during travel to an area that has these kinds of conditions. Cholera outbreaks are most common in tropical and subtropical regions. These include:
- parts of Asia
- parts of Africa
- Central and South America, to a lesser extent
Your risks can increase during or following:
- civil unrest
- a hurricane
- heavy rainfall
- an earthquake
This is due to damage to:
- sanitation and water supply systems
- homes, forcing people to move into overcrowded camps
You are at the greatest risk of getting cholera if you travel to high-risk countries and:
- eat raw or poorly cooked food (such as seafood)
- drink untreated water
- do not follow good hand hygiene
Those at a higher risk of dehydration (loss of fluids) include:
- young children
- older adults
- people with a chronic health condition, such as:
- heart failure
- kidney disease
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