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Typhoid Facts and Symptoms

What is Typhoid Fever?

Typhoid fever is a serious, sometimes fatal, illness caused by a bacteria called Salmonella typhi. These bacteria are spread through contaminated food, drink or water and can spread from person to person. They thrive in places with poor sanitation. Symptoms can include chills and fever (which can exceed 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit), headache, tiredness, dizziness, loss of appetite and nausea, stomach pains and constipation or diarrhea.

Your risk of becoming ill with typhoid fever is greater if:

  • You will be traveling to remote locations
  • You will be eating and drinking in places where food and drink may be contaminated because of sanitation problems
  • You have a weakened immune system - for example, if you have AIDS, are HIV positive, or are having chemotherapy
  • You have low levels of gastric acid - for example, if you have had a gastrectomy, or if you take antacids or medications for ulcers.

Vaccination is especially important if travelers will be in smaller cities, villages, or rural areas off the usual tourist itineraries or have prolonged exposure to potentially contaminated food and drink.

Prevention Tips

  • Follow strict food and water precautions while traveling.
  • Ensure all food is well cooked - especially meat and seafood.
  • Consume only canned or commercially bottled drinks.
  • Ensure ice cubes are made from purified water.
  • Eat only fruits and vegetables that you wash and peel yourself.
  • Avoid cold cuts, salads, watermelon and puddings.
  • If traveling to an area where typhoid is common, the vaccine will reduce your risk of becoming ill.

This list is not conclusive. Consult your travel physician for additional health information.

Available Immunizations

Currently there are two vaccines available in the United States. Please consult your travel physician to determine which vaccine is right for you.