Cholera in travellers:A systematic review

Bradley A. Connor*, Richard Dawood, Mark S. Riddle, Davidson H. Hamer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Exposure to cholera is a risk for individuals and groups travelling to endemic areas, and the bacteria can be imported to cholera-free countries by returning travellers. This systematic review of the literature describes the circumstances in which cholera infection can occur in travellers and considers the possible value of the cholera vaccine for prevention in travellers. PubMed and EMBASE were searched for case reports of cholera or diarrhoea among travellers, with date limits of 1 January 1990-30 April 2018. Search results were screened to exclude the following articles: diarrhoea not caused by cholera, cholera in animals, intentional cholera infection in humans, non-English articles and publications on epidemics that did not report clinical details of individual cases and publications of cases pre-dating 1990. Articles were reviewed through descriptive analytic methods and information summarized. We identified 156 cases of cholera imported as a consequence of travel, and these were reviewed for type of traveller, source country, serogroup of cholera, treatment and outcomes. The case reports retrieved in the search did not report consistent levels of detail, making it difficult to synthesize data across reports and draw firm conclusions from the data. This clinical review sheds light on the paucity of actionable published data regarding the risk of cholera in travellers and identifies a number of gaps that should drive additional effort. Further information is needed to better inform evidence-based disease prevention strategies, including vaccination for travellers visiting areas of cholera risk. Modifications to current vaccination recommendations to include or exclude current or additional traveller populations may be considered as additional risk data become available. The protocol for this systematic review is registered with PROSPERO (registration number: 122797).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbertaz085
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholera risk
  • Cholera vaccine
  • Serogroup 01
  • Serogroup O139
  • Vibrio cholera
  • Vibriocidal antibody


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