Typhoid fever is an extremely serious illness, and travellers are most at risk. However, there are ways to avoid infection.

With communication and travel technologies making exotic holidays and travel experiences more achievable than ever, more and more people are keen to explore as much of the world around them as possible.

This is a great goal to have, as travel can really enrich both your experiences and your view of the world. However, there are also potential risks involved when it comes to travel, and one such risk is typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever is common in developing countries and areas with poor sanitation. The widespread nature of the diseases means that it’s necessary to take precautions in order to travel safe. But don’t worry, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know.

An introduction to typhoid fever

According to the World Health Organisation, typhoid affects as many as 21.5 million people around the world every single year.

Typhoid is caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. This bacterium passes from person to person, via the consumption of contaminated food or water, and causes potentially severe illness in the host. The bacterium makes its home in the intestinal tracts and bloodstreams of the humans it infects, and it is spread by particles of faeces belonging to carriers of the bacterium or people who are ill with the disease. It is often spread when sewage contaminates local drinking water, or the water used for washing food or crockery. Because of this, typhoid fever is especially common in areas with poor levels of sanitation.

The typhoid infection usually develops over time, with symptoms arising around three weeks after the initial exposure to the bacterium. These symptoms can include high fever, stomach pains, headaches, weakness, loss of appetite, constipation and diarrhoea. Patients can also develop a red rash. If left untreated, typhoid can unfortunately be fatal.

How to avoid typhoid fever when travelling

The first and most vital step to avoiding typhoid infection is the receive the typhoid vaccination before you travel. If you are travelling to an area with a potential risk of typhoid (which can include most parts of the world except in industrialised regions like the US, Canada, western Europe, Japan and Australia), then it is absolutely vital that you seek out the typhoid vaccination before you leave. This vaccination is available from Express Travel Clinic.

Outside of the vaccination, there are further measures you can take to protect yourself against typhoid. These include:

  • Exclusively drink sealed, bottled water from brands you recognise.
  • If you cannot avoid consuming local water, be sure to boil it first. Purification tablets and filters are also available from many health clinics in high risk areas.
  • Only use ice made from bottled or purified water. Avoid flavoured ice or ice lollies.
  • Ensure all food is cooked thoroughly and served piping hot. Avoid food which has been left out for a while.
  • Avoid fruit and vegetables which you have not washed and peeled yourself.
  • Don’t consume food and drink bought from street vendors.
  • Ensure that all crockery and cutlery has been thoroughly washed before use.
  • Get into the habit of frequent hand-washing as an extra precautionary measure.

Key facts on typhoid to take away

  • More than 21.5 million people a year suffer from typhoid fever around the world.
  • Typhoid fever is spread through the consumption of contaminated food or water.
  • Typhoid is most common in areas with poor sanitation levels.
  • The Typhoid vaccination is a vital precautionary measure for travellers.
  • Food and drink precautions can also help you avoid infection.

If you’re planning a trip abroad, play it safe and get in touch with Express Travel Clinic. We can help you with the vaccinations you need to stay healthy when travelling. Call us on 0208 993 58 89 or click here