Typhoid infection is acquired through contaminated food or water. Most UK cases are in those visiting friends and relatives in countries of the Indian subcontinent.
Typhoid and paratyphoid are infections acquired by the ingestion of food or water contaminated by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi or Salmonella Paratyphi. They cause very similar diseases collectively known as enteric fever and mainly affect low-income areas of the world where sanitation is poor and clean drinking water is not widely available. The majority of global cases of the disease occur in Asia, but the disease continues to be a concern in other areas including Africa and parts of Central and South America.
The majority of travel-related infections in the UK occur in those visiting friends and relatives in countries of the Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan).
Symptoms of typhoid and paratyphoid include: fever, headache, muscle or joint pains, constipation or diarrhoea and a rash. Complications include intestinal bleeding and perforation (development of a hole in the wall of the bowel). If treated most people will make a full recovery however if untreated death rates can be high.
The risk of acquiring typhoid or paratyphoid can be reduced by ensuring good personal hygiene and following advice on the prevention of food and water-borne diseases.
Vaccination is recommended for travellers whose planned activities put them at higher risk of typhoid infection in areas where sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor. Vaccinations currently available only protect against typhoid and not paratyphoid infection. Both oral and injectable vaccines are available. Some vaccinations are combined with hepatitis A.
Public Health England’s Immunisation against infectious disease states: children between the ages of 12 months and two years should be immunised if the risk of typhoid fever is considered high. Immunisation is not recommended for children under one year of age. When children are too young to benefit fully from typhoid vaccination, scrupulous attention to personal, food and water hygiene measures should be exercised by the caregiver.
Length of protection
Following a single dose of an injectable or a complete course of oral typhoid vaccine, reinforcing immunisation should be offered at three-year intervals for those at continued risk. Booster vaccination of oral typhoid consists of 3 further capsules.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typhoid is a disease caused by Salmonella Typhi, which is a type of bacteria. A person can be infected by this bacteria if they are exposed to contaminated water or food. Typically, the bacteria is spread via urine or faeces; this is more common in areas where sanitation and hygiene are poor.
A person can also catch Typhoid if they:
– Eat seafood that has come from a water source contaminated by infected faeces or urine.
– Eat raw vegetables that have been fertilised with infected human waste.
– Have sexual contact with a person who is a carrier of Salmonella Typhi.
Typhoid is diagnosed via a blood, urine, or stool test. A series of tests may need to be conducted to detect whether Salmonella Typhi is present.
A person who has Typhoid may experience the following symptoms:
– High temperature
– Stomach pain
If left untreated, the bacteria can infect the bloodstream, spreading to other areas of the body.
It is recommended that you have the Typhoid vaccine if you are planning to travel to any of the below areas:
– South and Southeast Asia
– South and Central America
– Middle East
It is recommended that you get the Typhoid vaccine booster every three years if you plan on travelling to areas where Typhoid is common.
The Travel Health Clinic offers the Typhoid vaccine as a single injectable dose or in oral form.