Typhoid fever prevention

Introduction

Typhoid fever is an infection caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. You can contract it by eating food or drinking water contaminated by faeces. People infected with typhoid fever can infect others through contact with the hands, or from a water tap or door handle for example. The risk for travellers in most countries is very low with the exception of certain parts of the Indian subcontinent. People travelling under primitive circumstances run the greatest risk. It has emerged that the risk is higher for migrant travellers who return to visit their country of origin.

Symptoms for typhoid fever usually appear one to two weeks after infection:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pains
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Skin rashes
  • Drowsiness later on

The disease can be fatal if not treated.

Prevention          

Prevention mainly involves the same hygienic measures taken for the prevention of traveller’s diarrhoea.

Vaccination is provided by injection (Typherix® and Typhim Vi®) or a course of three capsules (Vivotyf®). However both provide only partial protection for a period of three years so that proper food hygiene remains essential. Vaccination is only advised when travelling for periods in excess of three weeks to the Indian subcontinent, or when travelling under very poor conditions of hygiene.

What to do in the event of symptoms

If symptoms appear that are similar to typhoid fever, a proper diagnosis must be carried out as soon as possible. During your trip you should contact the travel assistance insurance organisation for advice about reliable medical services.