typhoid fever

What is typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever is a serious disease spread by contaminated food and water.   In rare cases, it can be fatal.

Who is at risk for typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever is common in developing countries.   However, people who live in industrialized countries, such as the United States, are not at high risk.   People traveling to developing countries should take precaution while traveling.   South Asia has the highest risk for typhoid fever.

What are the symptoms of typhoid fever?

Symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pains
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Rash
  • Internal bleeding
  • Death

How can travelers prevent typhoid fever?

A typhoid vaccine is available in both injection and pill form to help prevent the disease.   Talk to your doctor to find the best vaccine method for you.   The typhoid vaccine is only 50%-80% effective, so it is important to watch what you eat and drink while traveling internationally.

Safe Foods:

  • Food that is cooked and served hot
  • Hard-cooked eggs
  • Cleaned, peeled fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Pasteurized dairy products

Unsafe Foods:

  • Food served at room temperature
  • Food from street vendors
  • Raw or soft-cooked eggs
  • Rare meat or fish
  • Unwashed, unpeeled fruits and vegetables
  • Fruit or vegetable peels
  • Condiments made with fresh ingredients
  • Salads
  • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • “Bushmeat” – monkeys, bats, and other wild game

Safe Drinks:

  • Sealed, bottled water – carbonated is best
  • Disinfected water
  • Ice made with bottled or disinfected water
  • Sealed, bottled carbonated drinks or sports drinks
  • Hot coffee and tea
  • Pasteurized milk

Unsafe Drinks:

  • Tap or well water
  • Ice made with tap or well water
  • Drinks made with tap or well water
  • Flavored ice and popsicles
  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Fountain drinks

Hygiene and cleanliness:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Use hand sanitizer when soap and clean water aren’t available
  • Do not touch your mouth, eyes, ears, and nose with unclean hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

For more information on typhoid fever, click here.