- Typhoid fever spreads through consuming contaminated food or water.
- More than 21.5 million people worldwide contract typhoid fever every year.
- Typhoid is most common in areas where sanitation is poor.
- The typhoid vaccine comes in either oral or injectable form.
- Get vaccinated against typhoid fever.
Typhoid fever is quite common in developing countries and areas with poor sanitation standards. The widespread nature of the disease requires taking special precautions. The best protection against typhoid is vaccination and avoiding risky foods or drinks.
Typhoid is a serious illness caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. The bacterium passes from person-to-person through the consumption of contaminated food or water. Typhoid is so widespread that more than 21.5 million people worldwide fall ill annually, according to the World Health Organization.
The typhoid bacterium lives in human intestinal tracts and bloodstreams. It is only carried by humans, and it spreads through the feces of carriers or people who are ill with the disease. It is often spread when sewage contaminates drinking water or water used for washing food. As a result, typhoid is common in areas where sanitation is poor.
Infections tend to develop over time, starting about three weeks after exposure. Symptoms include high fever, weakness, stomach pains, headaches, loss of appetite, diarrhea or constipation. Some patients will develop a flat, rose-colored rash. If the disease goes untreated, death can result.
The typhoid vaccine is available in oral and injectable form. Full immunity can take up to two weeks to develop. Get the vaccine in advance of your departure and potential exposure to the bacteria. Vaccination is a key line of defense, but avoiding risky drinks and food is also important.
Although the disease is treatable with antibiotics, drug-resistant strains make treatment difficult. These variants of typhoid fever thrive in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. They are typically resistant to first-line antibiotics but are preventable through vaccination.
Before traveling to a typhoid hotspot, schedule an appointment with a Passport Health travel health specialist. This appointment provides complete education about vaccination options and safety tips to avoid typhoid.
How Can I Avoid Typhoid?
The first step to avoiding typhoid is receiving the typhoid vaccine. Beyond that, here are a few tips to help you avoid the disease:
- If you must use local water, be sure to boil or otherwise purify it. Purification tablets and filters are available at all Passport Health travel clinic locations.
- Drink sealed, bottled water from a reputable source, and avoid brands you do not recognize.
- Remember to only use ice that made from bottled or boiled water. Avoid popsicles or flavored ice.
- Ensure all food is cooked thoroughly and served steaming hot.
- Avoid all fruits and vegetables that you have not peeled yourself.
- Avoid food and drinks from street vendors.
- Frequent hand washing is always a good strategy to prevent disease.
Typhoid is a fairly common infection among international travelers. If you return from a trip and fall ill, visit a health care provider immediately. Be sure to supply him or her with a complete itinerary of your trip.
To learn more about typhoid fever, visit our typhoid vaccination portal.
Planning a trip to the Caribbean, Africa or another region with typhoid? Make an appointment at your local Passport Health clinic by calling or booking online today.
"How to Avoid Typhoid Fever is republished with permission of Passport Health."
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