National Services Scotland logo

Fit for Travel Logo

Information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad. About us.

Typhoid

Introduction

The disease is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A, B or C. Typhoid is transmitted by food and drink that has been contaminated with human faeces or urine (faecal-oral route).

Typhoid can be found throughout the world but it is more common in countries where water or food supplies are liable to be contaminated with human excreta. Areas of highest risk to travellers are found in South Asia. Risk to travellers isĀ  generally lower in the rest of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The Illness

Typhoid causes systemic infection which may present as fever, headache, confusion and vague abdominal pain. Constipation is common in adults. Salmonella Paratyphi causes a milder illness than that of Salmonella Typhi.

Treatment

Treatment with an antibiotic is usually required. Medical attention should be sought for any feverish illness experienced whilst travelling abroad.

Recommendations for Travellers

Prevention is focused on ensuring safe food and water, particularly in countries where typhoid is more common. Foods to be wary of include shellfish, salads, unwashed fruit and vegetables and raw undercooked meat products.

Good personal hygiene is also very important. Individuals should ensure that they wash their hands prior to eating and after using the toilet.

Various vaccines that protect against typhoid are available: Typherix, Typhim Vi and an oral preparationĀ (3 capsules) called Vivotif. A single dose of injectable vaccine protects for three years, but will not protect against para-typhoid fever. There are two vaccines that combine typhoid with hepatitis A for convenience: Hepatyrix and ViATIM. Individuals should consider being vaccinated if they are travelling to a country where typhoid fever is more common and where they will be unable to take sufficient care with food and drink.

back to top