What is typhoid?
Typhoid fever is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi. It is a highly contagious and potentially lethal disease, which spreads via contaminated foods and water. As typhoid bacteria are primarily found in faeces, the infection is particularly common in regions with poor sanitation. Common symptoms of typhoid fever include a high temperature, headaches, nausea, muscle pain, digestion problems such as constipation or diarrhoea, tiredness and confusion. Some patients also experience a rash.
While travelling through an area with a high typhoid incidence, you should follow some simple rules to avoid an infection with typhoid fever. Avoid eating raw vegetables and fruit, especially if they have been cut. It is also advisable to wash hands frequently, especially before preparing food and eating. The most common source of infection is contaminated water.
In order to prevent typhoid, you should stick to drinking bottled or boiled water. The typhoid vaccine is very effective at preventing the illness. If you are travelling to an area with a high risk of typhoid and hepatitis A, we can offer a combined vaccination course which covers both conditions.
Use this page to see which vaccinations you need when travelling.
Typhoid is uncommon in the UK and most European countries. The infection is known to occur in large parts of the African continent, Central America, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. It is also endemic to regions in South America as well as Asia. You can check whether you need protection against typhoid in the country your visiting by searching for the country here.
According to the World Health Organisation, 21 million people suffer from typhoid every year, with the majority of cases occurring on the Asian continent. The most recent major outbreak of typhoid occurred in the Republic of Congo in 2005. It involved over 40 000 cases of typhoid fever and led to 214 deaths.
Typhoid treatment needs to start as soon as possible after infection to prevent complications. Typhoid tablets contain an antibiotic, which kills the bacteria. Patients usually feel better within a couple of days. If left untreated, typhoid can be lethal. The infection is also known to cause physical as well as mental disabilities if it is not treated or treated with delay. Infected individuals can continue to spread the bacteria, even after the symptoms have subsided.