What is Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid Fever is a serious and life-threatening infection caused by the bacteria salmonella typhi. It is transmitted similar to hep A through contaminated food and water and from person to person. Typhoid can be treated with antibiotics, however if left untreated typhoid fever can last for months and can be fatal (fatality rate is 16%).
Symptoms onset is 1-2 weeks and includes high fever, aches and pains, chills, fatigue and headaches, dizziness, rash on the trunk. Traveller’s who do become ill may be off work or school for months.
Ten percent of infected patients will remain carriers for 3 months or longer.
Where is it found?
Typhoid is common in areas where sanitation is poor; such as rural areas and small cities. It is found especially in India, Africa and Asia and also in Central and South America.
Consumption of ready-to-eat food that have been contaminated by sewage, such as fruit, or shellfish from an area contaminated by a sewage are common modes of infection.
There are 100 cases of typhoid reported each year in Canada. This is due to travellers returning home from developing countries where sewage and water treatment systems are poor.
What is the typhoid shot?
The vaccine is effective for protection in high risk areas but is not a substitute for careful attention. No vaccine is 100% effective therefore it is important to remember to follow safe food and water practices.
There are 2 types of typhoid vaccines – oral (by mouth) and injection (by needle).
The oral vaccine is given as a series of 4 doses, one capsule taken every other day on an empty stomach (1 hour before eating). The capsules should be finished at least 1 week before travel for up to 4 years of protection.
The injectable vaccine is only one dose. Vaccine should be administered at least 2 weeks prior to travel for up to 2 years of protection.
Are there any potential side effects?
Mild side effects, though uncommon can occur such as:
Abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, rash or headache.
*It is important to take the vaccine as directed.
Pain, swelling, or redness and injection site, headache or fever.
Who should not have the vaccine?
-Vaccine should not be given to children under 5 yrs
-People with persistent diarrhea, vomiting or fever
-People with weakened immune systems due to treatments or disease
Travel nurses will address any concerns prior to travel. Book your consultation at least 4-6 weeks prior to travelling.
-Vaccine should not be give to children under the age of 2
-Immuno-compromised individuals should consult with a nurse prior to having the vaccine.
**If the nurse still has concerns they are in contact with an infectious diseases specialist