Typhoid is a disease common in the developing world, especially Asia, Africa and Latin America. For the most part, it occurs everywhere except in industrialized regions where vaccination is common. About 22 million new cases of typhoid fever occur every year, and 200,000 related deaths occur worldwide. The disease is spread through contaminated food and water, and is quite serious when contracted. Travellers to developing countries are advised to check their vaccination records, and receive boosters for typhoid to avoid infection, especially if staying or traveling through rural areas.
What are the Symptoms of Typhoid?
Typhoid fever is quite serious when contracted, and generally symptoms occur 1 to 3 weeks after contraction. While some people may not exhibit any symptoms, some will see high fever, weakness, stomach pain, headache, loss of appetite, rash and constipation. In rare cases Typhoid can cause internal bleeding, and even death. In more severe cases symptoms may worsen and cause life threatening complications such as liver and spleen enlargement and internal bleeding. Typhoid is most often successfully treated with antibiotics.
Where am I Most at Risk of Contracting Typhoid?
This disease is common in all parts of the world except for industrialized nations where vaccinations are common. Typhoid fever outbreaks are seen in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and the highest risk for typhoid is in South Asia. Currently, typhoid is a rare occurrence in Canada and the United States, and cases are generally a result of the travel of an unvaccinated person.
What Can I Do to Prevent Typhoid Fever?
As a traveller, your number one priority is getting vaccinated to prevent contraction. Typhoid vaccines come in pill and injection form, so book a consultation at ABC Travel Clinic to learn which one will be more appropriate to you based on your medical history. However, these vaccines are only between 50-80% effective, meaning you also need to be careful about what you eat and drink while travelling.
When travelling abroad eat foods that are fully cooked, and served hot. Try to clean and peel your own fruits and vegetables, and avoid anything unpasteurized. Avoid foods served at room temperature, raw or runny eggs, undercooked meats or fish, unwashed or unpeeled fruits, condiments made with fresh ingredients, salads, foods from street vendors and wild game.
When drinking ensure that you are drinking sealed, disinfected, or bottled water, of ensure that the water has been boiled before you drink it. Never drink tap or well water, or drinks made with tap or well water.
To prevent the spread of bacteria, wash your hands often, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid touching your face with dirty hands and avoid contact with sick people.
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Typhoid information, Retrieved from: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/typhoid
Government of Canada (2017), Travel and health safety information: Typhoid. Retrieved from: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/diseases/typhoid
PaxVax Connect (2016). Typhoid fever. Retrieved from: https://www.paxvaxconnect.com/typhoid
World Health Organization (2017), Typhoid information, Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/en/#R