Typhoid: Get the facts

Typhoid Fever is a potentially fatal bacterial infection. If it is not treated quickly, it can affect many organs and spread across the body causing serious complications. Typhoid Fever is most common in areas with poor sanitation and without access to clean water. An infected person can pass on the disease very easily as it is highly contagious, and even the tiniest amount of bacteria present in food or drink can infect the person consuming it.

 

The disease is caused by a bacteria called Salmonella Typhi, which is related to the bacteria that cause food poisoning and salmonella. Children are more at risk of developing the fever, however symptoms in adults tend to be more severe. Places where the risk of developing Typhoid Fever are particularly high include Bangladesh, India, Pakistan as well as much of Asia, Africa and South America.

 

Symptoms include:

 

  • High temperature (39C plus)
  • Stomach Pain
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea

 

These symptoms will worsen until treatment is given, so it is important to be aware of the signs of the disease and seek medical help immediately if any are present to avoid any further complications. The usual course of action is prompt treatment with Antibiotics. If the disease is caught soon enough, a 7 to 14-day course of Antibiotics will usually clear the infection and will not require hospital admission. If Typhoid Fever is not caught quickly enough and the infection becomes more serious, it is likely to result in hospital admission and a course of Antibiotic injections will be given. Once treatment with antibiotics starts, recovery is usually very quick, with a healthy person usually starting to feel better within days.

 

Prevention:

 

The best course of action in any case is prevention, and by taking some simple measures you can significantly reduce your risk of developing Typhoid Fever.

 

  • Hand Washing – Wash your hands frequently in hot soapy water to control the bacteria, especially before eating, preparing food or after using the toilet. An alcohol- based hand sanitizer is also an option to combat the bacteria that cause the disease.
  • Do not drink untreated water – In many countries around the world where tap-water isn’t always safe to drink, drinking bottled water only is a much safer option. Make sure it’s from a sealed bottle and if you cannot access bottled water, boil water for at least 3 minutes to remove any bugs.
  • Fruits and vegetables may have been washed in contaminated water so can potentially cause infection. Avoid fruits you cannot peel and only consume vegetables that have been boiled.
  • Avoid ice unless you can guarantee water is sterilised – Ice could be made from contaminated water.
  • Choose piping hot foods – Food that is stored or served at room temperature is a much higher risk, steaming hot food that has just been prepared is much less likely to contain bacteria.

 

Vaccination:

 

The Typhoid vaccination is available in either tablet or injectable form at all of our Central London travel vaccination clinics.  It is strongly advised that visitors to high-risk areas of the world opt for vaccination at least 2 weeks before travelling to ensure a good level of cover.

 

The Typhoid vaccination lasts three years and is highly effective in minimising the symptoms of typhoid as a disease.  Contact us now to book an appointment with one of our specialist travel nurses, to find out whether Typhoid is a risk factor for your trip.

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