Appendix 4. Example of public information

The examples in italics are possible variations of information depending on the context.

4.1 General information

What is cholera?

Cholera is watery diarrhoea that looks like water in which rice has been cooked.
Together with diarrhoea there may be vomiting, which also looks like cloudy rice water.
The illness lasts several days.
Diarrhoea can cause dehydration (feeling of intense thirst, a dry mouth then sunken eyes).
A patient may die within hours if not treated. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk of dying quickly.

How does a person get cholera?

By drinking water or eating food that has been in contact with stool or touching your mouth with dirty hands.
There is little risk of getting cholera when caring for a sick person if you wash your hands properly just after attending to them.

How is cholera prevented?

1. Drink only safe water: bottled water with an unbroken seal or water that has been treated with chlorine (or boiled for one minute, depending on the context). Store your treated water in a clean, covered container.

2. Wash hands with soap and water at "critical times" (Table 3.2, Chapter 3).

3. Cook food well, keep it covered, eat it hot, and peel fruit and vegetables. Clean food preparation areas and kitchenware with soap and safe water and leave to dry completely before reuse.

4. Use latrines or bury faeces. Do not defecate in water or on the ground. Keep latrines clean and well-maintained. Place dirty diapers in a plastic bag before disposal.

What to do in the event of diarrhoea?

– Go immediately to the nearest CTC/CTU/ORP (or start taking ORS immediately at home, depending on the context).
– Continue to breastfeed frequently, even if you or your child have diarrhoea.
– Avoid preparing food for others.

Practical information

– Cholera treatment is free of charge.
– Locations of treatment sites and operating hours.
– Distribution points to obtain clean water, water storage containers, chlorine-releasing compounds for home use, soap, ORS, according to the context.

4.2 Information for a vaccination campaign

General information

– According the strategy chosen, inform the public that the vaccination against cholera will be done either as:
2 doses (given 2 weeks apart or 4 weeks apart, depending on how the vaccination campaign is organised)
A single dose
– The cholera vaccine is taken by mouth.
– It is safe for everyone over 12 months and can be administered to pregnant women. The vaccine will not be administered to infants less than 12 months of age.
– Being vaccinated is not a guarantee that everyone will be protected against the disease and some people who were vaccinated may get cholera but it will probably be less severe. In children, particularly those less than 5 years of age, the vaccine is somewhat less effective than in adults.
– Protection against cholera lasts at least 3 years1  after 2 doses (up to 6 months after one dose, according to current data)1.
– The cholera vaccine does not protect against other forms of diarrhoea (e.g. bloody diarrhoea).

Practical information

– Vaccination against cholera is free of charge.
– Date and time of vaccination.
– Location of vaccination sites

Ref Notes

The vaccine efficacy in a clinical trial is 65% at 5 years, but in field effectiveness studies, effectiveness starts to wear off at 4 years.