Cholera vaccines

In the long term, improvements in water supply, sanitation, food safety and community awareness of preventive measures are the best means of preventing cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases. However, WHO and partners are evaluating the use of newer tools to complement these traditional measures. Oral cholera vaccines of demonstrated safety and effectiveness have recently become available for use by individuals. Some countries have already used oral cholera vaccines to immunize populations considered to be at high risk for cholera outbreaks.

Evidence gained on the use of oral cholera vaccines is evolving rapidly. Work is under way to investigate the role of mass vaccination as a public health strategy for protecting at risk populations against cholera. Issues being addressed include logistics, cost, timing, vaccine production capacity, and criteria for use of mass vaccination to contain and prevent outbreaks.

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