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What is it and how is it spread?

Typhoid fever is an infection caused by bacteria found in food and water that has been contaminated with human urine and faeces.1 The disease occurs worldwide, but is most common in lower-income countries and regions where sanitation is poor and clean water is harder to find. These include parts of Asia, Africa and Central and South America.1,2

Who is at risk?

You are more at risk of typhoid fever if you are visiting countries where the infection is common and where you may not know how safe the food and drink is.1,2

What are the symptoms?

Typhoid fever infects the whole body and can cause fever, headache, confusion, muscle pains, rash, diarrhoea and stomach pain. The infection can also cause constipation in adults.1

How can it be prevented?

There are vaccines to help protect against typhoid fever. You may be advised to consider vaccination depending on where you are travelling to and your planned activities.2

To reduce your risk of typhoid fever, good personal hygiene is essential. You should always wash your hands before eating and after going to the bathroom.1 You should also be careful of eating certain foods, including shellfish, salads, unwashed fruits and vegetables and raw or undercooked meat.1

How can it be treated?

If you get typhoid fever you will normally be treated with antibiotics, and most people who are treated make a full recovery.1,2 If you experience any form of illness with a fever while or after travelling abroad, you should get medical advice.1

Where can I get further information?

If you have any questions or concerns about exposure to typhoid fever, please speak to your doctor or a travel health practitioner for more information.

Make sure you contact your GP or travel health practitioner in plenty of time before you travel to discuss the ways you can help to keep yourself healthy whilst away. You should try and contact them at least 4–6 weeks before your trip.

After your trip, you should contact your GP if you develop a fever or notice any other unusual symptoms.

  1. Fit For Travel. Typhoid. Available at: Accessed August 2017.
  2. Travel Health Pro. Typhoid Fever. Available at: Accessed August 2017.

Date of preparation: November 2017