Typhoid

Typhoid

Typhoid infection can occur anywhere in the world, but it typically occurs in developing countries where the sewerage sanitation system is poor and where food is grown in contaminated water or soil or washed in water containing this bacteria.1 

In countries that have a high risk of typhoid (Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America) you could possibly catch typhoid by consuming food or drinks that have been contaminated with human waste (faeces) from someone with the disease.2  Shellfish caught from sewage-contaminated water is a particular risk. Other risks included cold meats, fruits that can’t be peeled, uncooked vegetables including salads, contaminated milk and milk products as well as untreated water and ice.1,3

Vaccines are recommended for all travellers going to areas where there is an increased risk of exposure to Salmonella typhi, especially if you’re planning to visit high risk areas in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.2

Typhoid FAQs

  • Typhoid - What is it?

    Typhoid is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi1 that you can be vaccinated against. Typhoid infection can occur anywhere in the world, but it typically occurs in developing countries where the sewerage sanitation system is poor and where food is grown in contaminated water or soil or washed in water containing this bacteria.1  It is estimated that  22 million cases of typhoid fever happen worldwide each year.2

  • Typhoid - How is it spread?

    In countries that have a high risk of typhoid (Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America) you could possibly catch typhoid by consuming food or drinks that have been contaminated with human waste (faeces) from someone with the disease.2  Shellfish caught from sewage-contaminated water is a particular risk. Other risks included cold meats, fruits that can’t be peeled, uncooked vegetables including salads, contaminated milk and milk products as well as untreated water and ice.1,3  Up to 5% of people who get infected with typhoid become carriers - they can carry the disease without having any symptoms.1

  • Typhoid - What are the symptoms?

    Typhoid symptoms can take 6-30 days to show.2  If you feel unwell while you’re travelling or when you get home make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible.3  Some typical symptoms may include fever, headache, generally feeling unwell, anorexia and loss of appetite.1  Older children and adults tend to experience constipation, while younger children are more likely to get diarrhoea.1  If the disease is left untreated it may lead to serious complications such as bleeding in the gut,2  worsening fever, and swelling of the liver and spleen.1

  • Typhoid - How can it be prevented?

    Two basic actions can protect you from typhoid:

    • Avoid risky food and drink
    • Vaccinate yourself against typhoid fever

    There are vaccines available to help prevent people from contracting typhoid. These vaccines are recommended for all travellers going to areas where there is an increased risk of exposure to Salmonella typhi, especially if you’re planning to visit high risk areas in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.2

    Watching what you eat and drink is as important as being vaccinated as vaccinations do not give 100% protection. 1,2  Some recommendations to lower the risk of infection include:3

    • eating food that is still hot when it is served
    • avoiding food kept at room temperature for several hours
    • avoiding uncooked food, including seafood, salads and fruit that cannot be peeled
    • thoroughly boiling or cooking food and hot drinks (tea, coffee, cocoa)
    • wine, beer, fizzy drinks, bottled water or packaged fruit juices are usually safe to drink
    • only using bottled water (the seal must be intact) to drink and brush teeth
    • not putting ice in drinks unless you know it’s from safe water
    • boil milk before you drink it
    • ice cream can cause illness. If in doubt, avoid it
    • be sure that meals bought from street vendors are thoroughly cooked in your presence and do not contain any uncooked foods

    An easy way to remember what to avoid is: if you can’t boil it, cook it or peel it — forget it.3

    If you are travelling to Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America you should talk to your doctor or travel medicine specialist 6-8 weeks before you plan to travel.4

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