- Typhoid fever is a life-threatening illness. It’s usually spread under unsanitary conditions, either person to person, or though contaminated food, drink, or water.
- Typhoid fever is characterized by a high fever (which gradually increases, often to over 104 degrees Farenheit, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, and dizziness.
- Other symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, chills, and constipation or diarrhea.
- This disease is common in many developing countries of the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
- Vaccination is recommended for all travelers to risk areas.
Typhoid fever is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. In the United States about 400 cases occur each year, and 75% of these are acquired while traveling internationally. Typhoid fever is still common in the developing world, where it affects about 21.5 million persons each year.
Typhoid fever can be prevented and can usually be treated with antibiotics. If you are planning to travel outside the United States, you should know about typhoid fever and what steps you can take to protect yourself.
There are two vaccines currently recommended by the World Health Organization for the prevention of typhoid: these are the live, oral Ty21a vaccine (sold as Vivotif Berna) and the injectable Typhoid Polysaccharide Vaccine(sold as Typhim Vi by Sanofi Pasteur and Typherix by GlaxoSmithKline). Both are between 50% to 80% protective and are recommended for travelers to areas where typhoid is endemic. Boosters are recommended every 5 years for the oral vaccine and every 2 years for the injectable form. There exists an older killed whole-cell vaccine that is still used in countries where the newer preparations are not available, but this vaccine is no longer recommended for use, because it has a higher rate of side effects (mainly pain and inflammation at the site of the injection).