Typhoid and Can you Prevent it?

Typhoid is a Bacterial Infection

Typhoid is an infection caused by bacteria.  The bacteria is similar to the one that causes salmonella food poisoning.  You can become infected with Typhoid after eating or drinking infected food and water. The time between becoming infected and the first symptoms is around 1-3 weeks.  The disease can occur in any age group.  The disease is rare in children under 2 years of age.

Symptoms usually appear over the course of a month.  Once infected you might experience headaches and tiredness. This can progresses to aching muscles and stomach pains. Some people have a ‘rose spot’ rash after the first week of infection. Constipation can occur followed by bloody diarrhoea and a high temperature. If the disease is not treated quickly it can lead to death.  After contracting the disease you can pass the infection to others for 6 weeks to 3 months.

Typhoid is Present around the World

Typhoid is mainly present in South America, Africa and areas of Asia.  Therefore there is a higher risk if you travel to undeveloped areas of the world.

It is also important to understand that Typhoid can potentially occur anywhere in the world.  This is due to the way the disease spreads and the speed of travel. Natural disasters and imported cases can allow for outbreaks in parts of the world that would normally be considered low risk areas.

Typhoid can be Treated with Antibiotics 

Antibiotics can be used to treat mild cases, if the disease is diagnosed early. However, late diagnosis usually requires hospitalisation and  carries the risk of serious complications or death.

Vaccination can help Prevent Disease

Getting vaccinated (injection or oral) is a good idea when you are traveling to risk areas, and for occupational risks. Also vaccination against both Hepatitis A and Typhoid as a two-in-one injection is also available.

As vaccination does not provide 100% protection, it is also important to avoid food and drink which could be infected. You should also wash your hands properly before eating or using the bathroom.

References and Resources

Note: This information is intended to complement and not replace the relationship you have with your existing family doctor or travel health advisor.  Please discuss your travel health requirements with your regular family doctor, pharmacist or practice nurse.