This page covers Typhoid and the Typhoid Vaccine. Typhoid fever is an illness commonly found in travellers, and it is still common in the developing world. Typhoid can be life threatening, and is caused by a bacterium Salmonella Typhi. During 2013, medical professionals have reported that the number of Typhoid cases has risen because travellers have skipped this vaccine. It is therefore more important than ever to consider whether you need the typhoid vaccine before travelling and to protect yourself and your loved ones from any risk of typhoid being passed on.
This information is not specific to any particular country. For any country specific information you should check the travel vaccination advice for the destination you are interested in
General advice disclaimer
The following information about Typhoid and the Typhoid Vaccine is general advice only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. You should speak to the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor about your travel plans and any risk associated with the area you are going or activities you plan on doing. Contact the clinic to make an appointment today to discuss your individual needs and concerns.
What are the symptoms of Typhoid Fever?
People with typhoid may experience a sustained high fever, with temperatures of 39-40 degrees and may feel weak. Other symptoms include stomachache, headache, and loss of appetite and in some a rash consisting of flat, rose coloured spots. The only way to be sure that someone has typhoid is to test the blood or stools for Salmonella Typhi.
How is Typhoid passed on?
Typhoid can be passed on through eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water if you are in an area where the disease is common. In areas here sewage is not adequate contaminated sewage may also leak into the water supply and spread typhoid. This can mean that any seafood or food harvested in, or washed with, local fresh water can pose a risk. Oysters in particular can pose a risk because of how they are grown and harvested.
Where in the world can you get typhoid?
Typhoid is present in most parts of the world, except some industrialised countries such as The USA, Australia, Canada, Western Europe and Japan. Travellers are often advised to get vaccinated because of the prevalence of typhoid in countries that are popular tourist destinations, and because so many people now travel to all part of the world.
What should you do to avoid getting typhoid?
Apart from getting vaccinated, you can reduce or minimise the spread of typhoid by practicing good hygiene and hand washing, drinking bottled water or boiling any tap water you need to drink and avoiding uncooked, unpeeled fruits and vegetables in countries where typhoid is present.
Outbreaks of typhoid can occur at different times, and these measures will also help reduce the risk of spreading the infection to someone who has not been vaccinated.
How is typhoid vaccinated against?
The typhoid vaccine can be administered by injection, and you can be vaccinated against hepatitis A in the same dose. It is also possible to be given a course of four capsules to take to vaccinate you against typhoid, and the doctor will be able to advise you which one is right for you and administer whichever is needed.
Very young children may not be recommended the typhoid vaccine injection and may instead be given the oral vaccine (capsules).
What are the side effects of the typhoid vaccine?
The side effects of the typhoid vaccine are generally mild and not thought to outweigh the risk of contracting typhoid. Side effects may include a headache, slight fever and redness or swelling at the site of the injection, or nausea or vomiting and a rash as well as stomach pain with the oral vaccine. Speak to the doctor during your appointment if you are concerned about any side effects of this vaccine.
Who should not get vaccinated against typhoid?
There are some groups who should not take the Typhoid vaccine. These include:
- Pregnant women
- Those being treated for typhoid infection already
- Those with a compromised immunity or who are HIV positive
- Those experiencing a stomach or gut infection
Generally all others will benefit from vaccination and not experience any side effects negative enough to warrant not getting vaccinated. The doctor can advise you further on your own situation during your consultation.