What is Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is a potentially life-threatening infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. Every year the disease affects up to 16 million people, and causes approximately 600,000 deaths worldwide. With the improvement in sanitary facilities, typhoid has been virtually eliminated in many areas. However, it remains a problem in many developing countries.
What Are The Symptoms?
Typhoid fever is recognised by the onset of fever, severe headache, nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite. It is sometimes accompanied by delirium, bloody stools, constipation, and diarrhoea. In some cases a rash may appear. Severe complications of typhoid fever include bleeding from the gut, perforation of the small intestine, pneumonia, meningitis, and kidney failure.
How Is It Contracted?
Typhoid fever is usually transmitted by food and water that has been contaminated by sewage.
Important sources of infection are:
- Shellfish from sewage polluted beds
- Contaminated raw fruit and vegetables
- Contaminated milk and milk products
- Pollution of water sources
- Ice cream and contaminated ice in drinks
People can transmit the disease as long as the bacteria remain in their system. About 10% of untreated patients will discharge bacteria for up to 3 months, while 2% to 5% of untreated patients will become permanent carriers.
Who Is At Most Risk?
Vaccination is generally recommended if you are considering travel to endemic areas, where sanitation and hygiene may be poor. Particularly if travel is to rural areas, involves close contact with indigenous populations, and/or exposure to potentially unsafe food and water.
Where Are You At Risk?
Typhoid fever is common in many parts of the world, except in industrialised regions such as Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan. Therefore, if you are travelling to countries in the developing world, you should consider taking precautions. Typhoid fever is most prevalent in any area where hygiene conditions are poor, especially countries in:
- Far East and Indian subcontinent
- South America
A single injection vaccine is available against typhoid fever, which will provide protection for up to 3 years. Booster vaccinations are recommended every three years if you continue to be at risk of infection with typhoid bacteria.
Alternatively, an oral vaccine (given as three capsules to take on alternate days), which provides protection for 1 year. Combined typhoid and hepatitis A injections are also available
- If you have been vaccinated in the past, check with your doctor's surgery to see if it is time for revaccination
- Even with vaccination careful selection of food and drink is essential to minimise the risk of infection
- Taking antibiotics will not prevent typhoid fever - they only help treat it
When Should You Be Vaccinated?
Check with your doctor or practice nurse as soon as you have decided where and when you are travelling, and they will advise on an appropriate vaccination schedule. Ideally, the vaccine should be administered one month before you travel.
Does The Vaccine Have Any Side Effects?
Like most injections, some people may experience tenderness and redness at the site of the injection. Typhoid cannot be contracted directly from the vaccine. About 1% of people who take the vaccine develop a high fever.
Source Of information
GlaxoSmithKline, Wikipedia, local doctors, local hospitals, newspaper articles, various.
Travel Related Diseases
Thailand is an incredibly photogenic country, both for its landscapes and its people. Regardless of whether you enjoy large Asian cities, beaches and islands, or rice fields and mountains, Thailand has something for you and it is a dream destination for photographers.
One of the great things about visiting Thailand is that hotels are plentiful and a lot cheaper than in most other countries. Each link on the right will take you to the relevant page on the Agoda website where you can see photos, read reviews, and book on-line. I tend to use Agoda to book all of my own hotels in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region. I generally find Agoda hotel rates to be the lowest and I have received good customer service, therefore I am happy to recommend the company to other people.
Booking.com used to be more expensive than Agoda, but when I have checked hotel prices recently I have found their rates to be quite competitive. Unlike Agoda, you don't need to pay at the time of booking with Booking.com - you can simply pay at the hotel when you check in. Also, Booking.com show you total prices whereas Agoda show you a price and then add on 17% for tax and service charge.
If you wish to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined.
Images of Thailand