The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Cholera in Ghana

Updated May 27, 2015

What is the current situation?

According to ReliefWeb, as of April 19, 2015, there have been more than 570 cases and 5 deaths reported in 2015. The Greater Accra region continues to have the most cases. More than 28,900 cholera cases were reported in Ghana in 2014. Many cases have been in the Greater Accra region (about 70%), including in the districts of Accra Metro and La-Dadekotopon.

CDC recommends that travelers to Ghana( protect themselves from cholera by following food and water precautions(

What is cholera?

Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Water is contaminated by the feces (stool) of an infected person or by untreated sewage. Food is often contaminated by water containing cholera bacteria or handled by a person ill with cholera.

Often people have mild illness or no symptoms. However, about 1 in 20 (5%) of infected people will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

What can travelers do to prevent cholera?

Travelers can protect themselves by following food and water precautions( The risk for cholera is very low for people visiting areas with epidemic cholera. When simple precautions are observed, contracting the disease is unlikely.

  • Drink only bottled, boiled, or chemically treated water and bottled or canned carbonated beverages. When using bottled drinks, make sure that the seal has not been broken.
    • To disinfect your own water: boil for 1 minute or filter the water and add 2 drops of household bleach or ½ an iodine tablet per liter of water.
    • Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water.
  • If no water and soap are available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner (with at least 60% alcohol).
    • Clean your hands especially before you eat or prepare food and after using the bathroom.
  • Use bottled, boiled, or chemically treated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, or make ice.
  • Eat foods that are packaged or that are freshly cooked and served hot.
    • Do not eat raw and undercooked meats and seafood or unpeeled fruits and vegetables.
  • Dispose of feces in a sanitary manner to prevent contamination of water and food sources

Traveler Information

Clinician Information