What is Typhoid?

Typhoid fever is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi. It is a highly contagious and potentially lethal disease, which spreads via contaminated foods and water. As typhoid bacteria are primarily found in faeces, the infection is particularly common in regions with poor sanitation. Common symptoms of typhoid fever include a high temperature, headaches, nausea, muscle pain, digestion problems such as constipation or diarrhoea, tiredness and confusion. Some patients also experience a rash.

Superdrug travel clinics provide the typhoid injection. It is suitable for children from the age of two and provides protection for three years. The vaccine consists of one single dose, which should be administered two weeks before entering a country with a high risk of typhoid. We also provide the oral vaccination in cases where the injection is not suitable.

The typhoid vaccine provides effective protection and is recommended when travelling to a country with a high incidence. The NHS states, that typhoid fever is not common in the UK - only 500 cases occur each year. Most people who develop the infection contract it while visiting relatives in Bangladesh, India or Pakistan.

Typhoid is uncommon in the UK and most European countries. The infection is known to occur in large parts of the African continent, Central America, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. It is also endemic to regions in South America as well as Asia. 

According to the World Health Organisation, 21 million people suffer from typhoid every year, with the majority of cases occurring on the Asian continent. The most recent major outbreak of typhoid occurred in the Republic of Congo in 2005. It involved over 40 000 cases of typhoid fever and led to 214 deaths.

Typhoid treatment needs to start as soon as possible after infection to prevent complications. Typhoid tablets contain an antibiotic, which kills the bacteria. Patients usually feel better within a couple of days. If left untreated, typhoid can be lethal. The infection is also known to cause physical as well as mental disabilities if it is not treated or treated with delay. Infected individuals can continue to spread the bacteria, even after the symptoms have subsided.

There are two different typhoid vaccines available in the UK. One is administered orally, the other consists of an intramuscular injection. The oral vaccine consists of three capsules, which need to be taken on alternate days. This type of vaccine is not suitable for people with a weak immune system and is not recommended for children. Superdrug travel clinics only provide the oral vaccine for patients who can't have the injection. 

The typhoid vaccine causes side effects in some patients. Common side effects are soreness around the infection site, as well as swelling and redness. It is also very common to experience a high temperature after the injection. Less common side effects of the vaccine include abdominal pain, headache, nausea and diarrhoea.

While travelling through an area with a high typhoid incidence, you should follow some simple rules to avoid an infection with typhoid fever. Avoid eating raw vegetables and fruit, especially if they have been cut. It is also advisable to wash hands frequently, especially before preparing food and eating. The most common source of infection is contaminated water. 

In order to prevent typhoid, you should stick to drinking bottled or boiled water. The typhoid vaccine is very effective at preventing the illness. If you are travelling to an area with a high risk of typhoid and hepatitis a, we can offer a combined vaccination course which covers both conditions.

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