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Typhoid Fever is a bacterial infection that is spread through contaminated food and water. It can cause intestinal bleeding, toxic heart disease, pneumonia, seizures and swelling of the brain. Globally there are between 13 million and 16 million cases of Typhoid reported a year, 500,000 of which result in death.
Countries at risk
Typhoid fever is mostly found in areas where standards of personal and food hygiene are low, and sanitation is lacking. The disease is widespread in much of the world, including South Asia and parts of South-East Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, and Africa. Outbreaks of Typhoid have also been reported from countries in Eastern Europe including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Russia.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms may include mild fever and headache, muscle aches, chills, nausea, and loss of appetite. Some sufferers report abdominal discomfort, constipation and/or diarrhoea.
Antibiotic therapy and general medical support may be required. However, some strains of Typhoid are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, especially in Southeast Asia. Severe cases, in which the intestines become perforated, can be treated surgically.
While travelling, only drink water from a sealed bottle or water that has been treated using a quality filter, tablets or boiling. Avoid ice from an unknown water source. Avoid uncooked food and only eat fruit that you can peel. Ensure that hot food is freshly cooked and served hot. Use common sense around personal hygiene and hand washing.
Travellers to areas at risk may be recommended one of the following vaccines:
- Typhim Vi, single dose injection
- Vivotif, 3 capsules
- Viatim, single dose injection of Hepatitis A & Typhoid combined
It is also advised that travellers take appropriate precautions with food and water.