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Typhoid

Typhoid fever is a life-threatening bacterial illness common in the developing world. Typhoid fever can be contracted from food or drink that is contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella typhi. Food or drink may be contaminated either because water supplies are not adequately sanitized or because food or beverages are handled in unsanitary conditions. Travelers in most parts of the world outside of the United States, Western Europe, Australia and Japan are at risk of encountering the bacterium that causes typhoid fever.

Symptoms

  • Prolonged fever as high as 103° to 104°F (39° to 40°C)
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Rose-colored rash on the chest area
  • Enlarged spleen or liver

Most people who contract typhoid fever show symptoms 1-3 weeks after exposure. Symptoms of typhoid fever can be mild or severe. Once symptoms have stopped, you may still be carrying bacteria capable of giving the disease to other people. Typhoid infections are typically treated with antibiotics. Untreated typhoid can lead to extended fever, and up to 20% of people who contract typhoid die from complications of the infection.

Prevention

If you are traveling to a country where typhoid is common, the CDC recommends that you consider getting vaccinated against typhoid. Vaccination will need to be completed at least 1-2 weeks before travelling so the vaccine has time to take effect.

  • Drink only boiled or bottled water
  • Ask for drinks without ice unless the ice is made with boiled or bottled water
  • Eat hot foods that are still steaming when served
  • Avoid salads and other raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled, and only eat produce that you have peeled yourself after thoroughly washing your hands and any implements with soap.
  • Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating

Visit the CDC’s Travelers Health website to learn more about the diseases you need to protect yourself against based on the type of traveler you are and your travel destination.