1 What is Typhoid?
Typhoid fever is a disease which can be contracted by eating food or water contaminated by the bacterium Salmonella Enterica Serovar Typhi. Typhoid is a disease that can be either mild or strong, but nearly all patients experience fever and headache. Young children may experience a mild illness, but they can also suffer from severe disease.
It usually takes7-14 days for Typhoid fever to take effect in a person’s body. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, malaise and nausea, as well as some discomfort internally via either diarrhoea or constipation.
2 How could I catch it?
Transmission occurs following the ingestion of food or water that has been heavily contaminated. The bacteria enters the food chain and water supply if sanitation is inadequate. Direct faecal-oral transmission also occurs. Ingestion of vegetables fertilized with human waste (night soil) and eaten raw, shellfish harvested from sewage-contaminated beds, and contaminated milk products can all result in typhoid infection which makes getting the Typhoid vaccine integral.
3 Am I likely to get it
The World Health Organization estimates that 21 million people catch typhoid fever every year with a fatality rate of 1-4%. The majority of typhoid occurs in Asia, however it is also seen in Africa and parts of South America. In the UK, typhoid generally only occurs from people who have visited an infected country and caught it from there. There have been around 500 reported confirmations of Typhoid fever in Britain between 2007 and 2011. This makes it an incredibly low risk disease. However, the possibility of infection increases by a large amount when travelling to other countries, which makes the Typhoid vaccine essential to any regular travellers.
4 If its not common in England, where exactly am I likely to get it from?
The risk of getting typhoid fever is variable and depends on the country visited, but the most highest amount of cases take place on the Indian sub-continent (Bangladesh, India and Pakistan). Whilst it is less likely in other Asian countries you should always consult a doctor in about the possibility of needing the Typhoid Vaccine.
5 What Typhoid Vaccine is best to use?
There is a global shortage of the Typhoid vaccine nation but the most commonly received typhoid vaccine in the UK is Vivotif®. This vaccine is for active oral immunisation against typhoid fever wherein a capsule should be taken approximately one hour before a meal with a cold or lukewarm drink. It should be taken on alternate days 1, 3 and 5, and by the end of the week you should be complete with your vaccination