Typhoid fever is caused by a bacterial infection and can affect many organs and be potentially life-threatening if not treated promptly. Typhoid fever is highly contagious and is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi. It can be spread through infected faeces or urine and therefore, is prevalent in parts of the world with poor sanitation and contaminated food and water supply.
- South America
- the Indian subcontinent
- south and southeast Asia
Therefore, those who are travelling to these areas should be advised to be wary of food and water consumption and to maintain high standards of hygiene where possible.
Symptoms associated with typhoid fever begin to escalate if the infection is left untreated. As time progresses, risk of developing potentially fatal complications will increase. Symptoms usually appear between 1-3 weeks. These symptoms include:
- a high temperature (can reach 40C)
- a headache
- aches and pains
- a cough
- loss of appetite
- tummy pain
Many people will feel better with prompt antibiotic treatment. If caught early enough, typhoid fever can be combatted with a 1-2 week course of antibiotics.
If the case is deemed to be more serious, hospitalisation may be required in order to receive antibiotic injections.
Complications caused by typhoid fever are considered rare.
Prevention and Vaccination
Within the UK, two vaccines are available that aim to provide protection against typhoid fever. These involve either a single injection or taking oral capsules (3 times a day over alternate days).
Vaccination against typhoid fever is strongly advised for those travelling to countries where the infection is widespread, especially if you are planning on working and living in close proximity to people in local communities. Vaccination should ideally take place 2-3 weeks before departure.
However, as neither vaccine guarantees 100% protection, it is necessary to follow guidelines of good hygiene and be careful regarding food and water consumption.
During your consultation, with an Ahmeys travel health practitioner, we will undertake a travel risk assessment based on your itinerary and travel plans. Our expert practitioners are also well placed to discuss and assess the risks versus the benefits of vaccination of those who are pregnant or who suffer from certain allergies. Our aim is for you to leave your consultation feeling confident and fully informed.