Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is a potentially fatal infection that causes diarrhoea and a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or over. It is spread through contact with human stools, usually as a result of poor sanitation and personal hygiene.

High-risk areas

Typhoid is found throughout the world, but is more likely to occur in areas where there is poor sanitation and hygiene. In particular, risk areas include:

  • Africa
  • Central America
  • the Indian subcontinent
  • the Middle East
  • South America
  • South and Southeast Asia

The typhoid fever vaccination is recommended for anyone travelling to a high-risk area. In particular, it is recommended for people who will:

  • be staying with or visiting the local population
  • have frequent or prolonged exposure to conditions where sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor

The vaccine

Ideally, the typhoid vaccine should be given at least one month before you travel but, if necessary, it can be given closer to your travel date. The vaccine is not 100% effective, so you will still need to avoid contaminated food or water and pay careful attention to your personal hygiene.

The vaccine is available as either a single injection or three doses of an oral capsule taken on alternate days. The vaccine protects against typhoid fever for about three years. A combined typhoid and hepatitis A vaccine is also available.

The typhoid fever vaccine is not suitable for infants younger than two.