In rural Bangladesh, family contacts of patients with cholera were studied prospectively to examine whether protection against colonization and disease due to Vibrio cholerae O1 was associated with circulating antibodies to V. cholerae. Family contacts (1,071) of 370 patients with cholera were visited daily for 10 days, cultured for V. cholerae, and queried about diarrhea. Sera collected on days 1 and 21 were assayed for vibriocidal antibodies, IgG and IgA antibodies to cholera toxin, and IgG antibodies to lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Vibriocidal titers of ⩾20 present in 50% of contacts by 20 years of age were associated with protection against both colonization and disease. An elevated Level of IgG antitoxin was not associated with protection against colonization or disease but was the most sensitive indicator of recent symptomatic cholera and of immune response to the oral immunogen B subunit. IgG antibody to LPS and IgA antitoxin were of little value in predicting colonization or disease.