Cholera in West Africa

Released: December 29, 2021

Current situation

Large outbreaks of cholera have been identified in Niger and Nigeria. Surrounding countries have reported cases of cholera relating to these outbreaks.

About cholera

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera. The bacteria that cause cholera are usually found in water or food that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person. Outbreaks of cholera occur mainly in places that have unsafe drinking water, are overcrowded and have inadequate sanitation.

Most people who have cholera do not show any symptoms or may experience mild illness. If you do show symptoms, you may experience:

• nausea
• vomiting
• leg cramps
• watery diarrhea

In its most severe form, you can experience a sudden onset of profuse, painless, and watery diarrhea.

The symptoms:

• can appear 12 hours to 5 days after you are infected
• can lead to serious dehydration (loss of fluids) and even death if not treated quickly


Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel.

Consider vaccination


Eat and drink safely


Wash your hands as often as possible


If you develop symptoms

Consult a health care professional immediately if you:

Tell them:

Start drinking plenty of fluids and use oral rehydration salts to prevent dehydration.

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