(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first-ever vaccine to prevent cholera.
That vaccine is Vaxchora, and it was approved for adults 18 through 64 years old who will be traveling to areas affected by cholera. This vaccine prevents cholera caused by serogroup O1.
PaxVax Bermuda's Vaxchora is a live, weakened vaccine and is available as a suspension to be given by mouth at least 10 days before travel.
Cholera is caused by Vibrio cholerae bacteria and can be acquired by ingesting contaminated water or food.
Cholera is rare in the United States but can be found in certain parts of the world where the water and sewage systems are inadequate and sanitation is poor. Infection with Vibrio cholerae typically causes watery diarrhea. Those infected may experience mild to extremely severe symptoms. Although the infection is typically mild, in severe cases, patients can experience severe symptoms that result in dehydration. In these cases, prompt antibiotic treatment and fluid replacement are vital.
Before Vaxchora was available, those traveling to areas affected by cholera were told to reduce their risk through safe food and water practices and frequent hand-washing.
Vaxchora was approved after it appeared effective in clinical trials. These trials evaluated volunteers who were intentionally exposed to Vibrio cholerae bacteria. That said, Vaxchora's efficacy has not been determined in those living in areas affected by cholera.
The most common side effects seen with Vaxchora include headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and lack of appetite.