Preventing Traveler’s Diarrhea and Cholera: The Dukoral Vaccine

March 8, 2023

When traveling abroad, you have to be wary that you’re susceptible to various diseases you don’t encounter at home. This especially rings true when you travel to more exotic or remote destinations. 

Two common illnesses travelers face abroad are traveler’s diarrhea and cholera. We know it sounds intimidating, but there is a way to stay healthy and avoid catching either one of these diseases. The solution is simple – getting the Dukoral vaccine. 

Not sure what this vaccine is and if you should get it? Not to worry, we’re about to explain everything about the Dukoral vaccine and help you decide. Keep reading to find out more about preventing traveler’s diarrhea and cholera.

What Are Traveler’s Diarrhea and Cholera?

a young man feels severe stomach pain

Let’s start at the very beginning and explain these two common diseases and how you can contract and recognize them. 

Traveler’s Diarrhea

As the name suggests, this condition is pretty common among travelers as it is easy to contract. You can get it in many places around the world, but it is most commonly found among tourists in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Of course, anyone can get traveler’s diarrhea, but travelers are particularly susceptible to it due to differences in food, water, and sanitation in foreign countries.

The disease affects the digestive system, causing loose, watery stool and abdominal pain. Normally, it is caused by ingesting contaminated food or water and poor hygiene. 

The main symptoms include: 

  • Diarrhea and abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dehydration

So, as a tourist, it’s especially important to be mindful of what and where you eat and drink in high-risk areas, such as developing countries or areas with poor sanitation. Avoid ingesting food or water that may be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Also, make sure to regularly wash your hands, especially before eating. 


Chorela is an acute bacterial infection affecting the digestive system. Just like traveler’s diarrhea, it is transmitted by contaminated food and water, and it’s mostly spread in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene practices. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening. 

The symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the illness. They can include: 

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration (dry mouth, decreased urine output, and lightheadedness)
  • Muscle cramps
  • Low blood pressure

Dukoral Vaccine: What Is It and How Does It Work?

dukoral oral vaccine

So, minding what you eat and keeping your hygiene at an all-time high are great ways to prevent these two diseases, but if you want to be extra safe, you should consider immunization. That’s where the Dukoral vaccine comes into play. 

Dukoral is an oral vaccine that protects against cholera caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It also protects against a type of traveler’s diarrhea caused by a different bacterium – enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC).

It is administered in two doses, separated by at least a week. The vaccine doesn’t need to be prepared in any particular way or refrigerated. As we’ve said, this is an oral vaccine, so no needles are required! You can take it with a small amount of water or another beverage.

How long does Dukoral protection last? Well, the vaccination can protect you for up to two years. So, if you plan on traveling frequently or for an extended time, you won’t have to worry about getting vaccinated repeatedly. After the two years, you may require a booster dose. 

The Dukoral vaccine should be taken in conjunction with other preventative measures, including practicing good hygiene and using safe food and water, as it doesn’t offer 100% protection against cholera or traveler’s diarrhea.

Dukoral Side Effects May Include

As with most vaccines, you may experience slight side effects after taking Dukoral. The vaccine is usually well-tolerated and safe, but sometimes people experience side effects that are mild and short-lasting. Side effects may include: 

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

The effects usually resolve within a few days and don’t require medical attention. Overall, the benefits of Dukoral typically outweigh the risks of side effects, so it’s definitely one of the travel vaccines to consider.

However, more serious side effects, such as severe allergic reactions, may occur in rare cases. If you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, or severe rash or itching), you need to seek medical attention. 

Who Should Take the Vaccine?

The Dukoral vaccine is recommended for anyone planning to travel to an area where cholera and ETEC are common. This includes areas such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, and Central America. It’s particularly important for people likely to come into contact with contaminated food or water while traveling, such as those visiting rural and remote areas. The Dukoral vaccine is recommended for adults and children alike over the age of two. 

Make sure to always consult your healthcare provider before taking any vaccine. Their advice and recommendation might vary depending on your current health condition. 

When to Take Dukoral?

The ideal time to get the vaccine is one or two weeks before you travel, but you can still take it up to a week before your departure. Don’t forget that a booster dose may be necessary every two years if you plan on taking multiple trips during that time. 

Is Dukoral Worth Taking? Effectiveness of the Dukoral Vaccine

Before a big trip abroad, you want to be fully prepared, and if you’re going to an exotic location, preparation includes protecting your body from various diseases. Getting your prescription refills is a must but is vaccination a necessary or even effective way of staying healthy abroad? 

Well, according to studies, vaccination can prevent cholera up to 85% of the time and ETEC-induced traveler’s diarrhea up to 67% of the time. This means that getting the Dukoral vaccine makes you significantly less likely to get sick and spend your trip in bed. 

The Benefits of Getting Vaccinated 

If you’re still unsure whether getting the traveler’s diarrhea and cholera vaccine is the way to go, let us present a few benefits of taking Dukoral. Other than the vaccine protecting you from these two diseases long-term, here are a few additional advantages that might help you decide.

  • Safe and effective: Cholera and traveler’s diarrhea vaccine is safe and effective, with minimal side effects. It’s been approved for use in over 70 countries and administered to millions worldwide.
  • Save money: Getting sick abroad can be expensive, with medical bills and missed activities. By taking the Dukoral vaccine, you can avoid the expense and inconvenience of becoming ill.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing you’re protected against these illnesses can give you greater peace of mind during your trip. You can enjoy your travels and explore new places without worrying about getting sick.

How to Get the Dukoral Vaccine? Contact Us!

If you’re planning a big trip abroad, consider getting the Dukoral vaccine and make sure you get all the important information about it beforehand. Proper preparation is key to staying safe and healthy while exploring the world! 

If you’re interested in travel vaccination or ordering special medical supplies before your trip, Everest Pharmacy is the way to go. We are a full-service pharmacy in Toronto, aiming to provide our customers with comprehensive services, ensuring they receive all the medical advice and supplies they need. 

Maintain your health and well-being even while traveling – contact us with any questions, dilemmas, or orders. We’re at your service!

About the Author: Remtulla Kumail

Hi there, my name is Kumail Remtulla and I'm a pharmacist with over 10 years of experience in both the UK and Canada. I grew up in Toronto, Ontario and decided to pursue my pharmacy degree in the UK back in 2004. After graduating, I worked for Boots UK for 5 years before moving back to Toronto in 2015. Once back in Canada, I completed the pharma