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U.S. Brand Names
Typhim Vi®; Vivotif®
What Is Typhoid?
Typhoid , or typhoid fever, is a very serious and potentially fatal illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, which is frequently found in sewage.
Typhoid can be prevented by a vaccine, which is recommended for individuals planning to travel outside the United States. Although the typhoid vaccine is effective, it cannot prevent 100% of typhoid infections.
Typhoid fever does occur within the US; however, it is far more prevalent in developing countries where water is likely to be contaminated by bacteria. So it is important, particularly when traveling in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, to be aware of possible bacteria contamination of food and water.
S. typhiis contracted through drinking water that has been contaminated with sewage. It can also be ingested by eating food that has been washed in bacteria-laden water.
The most common symptoms of typhoid include:
- High fever, usually up to 103?F or 104?F
- Stomach pains
- Loss of appetite
Fever in patients with typhoid is usually persistent. Many patients also exhibit a rash that looks like flat, rose-colored spots.
If typhoid is diagnosed and promptly treated with antibiotics, the outcome is usually good. But without treatment, fever and symptoms may continue for weeks or months, and death may occur as a result of complications from the bacterial infection.
With antibiotic treatment, symptoms typically begin to subside within two or three days. Reduction in symptoms does not mean that bacteria are no longer in the bloodstream. It is important to finish all of the antibiotics as prescribed and to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Be aware that this infection can be readily spread to others.
Canadian Brand Names
Typherix®; Typhim Vi®; Vivotif®
What Is the Typhoid Vaccine?
There are two types of typhoid vaccines:
- An inactivated (killed) vaccine that is injected
- A live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine administered orally
The typhoid vaccine may be given in conjunction with other vaccines, but is not part of a combined injection.
Both types of vaccines should be stored in a cool environment, below 60?F, but they should not be frozen.
The inactivated vaccine is given as a shot and should not be given to children younger than two years old. A single dose should be given at least 14 days before traveling abroad. Booster shots are needed every two years for those who continue to be in parts of the world where they would be exposed to typhoid fever.
The live typhoid vaccine is administered orally and should not be given to children younger than six years old. Four doses, with two days separating each dose, are needed. A booster dose is needed every five years.
Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?
Although the typhoid vaccine is not administered routinely in the US, the following individuals should be vaccinated:
- People who are traveling to areas outside the US where typhoid commonly exists
- People who are in close contact with an individual who has or carries typhoid
- People who work with S. typhi, typically laboratory workers
Boosters of the inactive vaccine are required every two years for people at risk for contracting typhoid, and every five years for those at risk who take the oral vaccine.
For maximum effectiveness, the vaccine should be taken 2-3 weeks prior to the potential exposure to S. typhi.
Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) are developed by the staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each VIS provides information to properly inform the adult vaccinee or, in the case of a minor, the child's parent or legal representative about the risks and benefits of each vaccine. Before a healthcare provider vaccinates a child or an adult with a dose of DTaP, Td, MMR, varicella, polio, Hib, hepatitis B, or pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the provider is required by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act to provide a copy of the VIS. VISs are available for other vaccines and may be used to educate patients. Foreign language versions are also available.
What Are the Risks Associated With the Typhoid Vaccine?
Common side effects include:
- Redness or swelling at injection site (inactivated only)
Less common side effects include:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
Side effects that may indicate a serious allergic reaction include:
- Changes in behavior
- Extremely high fever
- Difficulty breathing, hoarse voice, or wheezing
- Pale skin
- Rapid heartbeat
Created: 2005-04-07 17:26:26.0
Modified: 2010-03-09 08:27:29.0
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Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?
- For the shot, the following individuals should not get vaccinated. Those who:
- Have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous typhoid vaccine
- Are under age 2 years
- For the oral vaccine, the following individuals should not get vaccinated. Those who:
- Have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous typhoid vaccine
- Are under age 6 years
- Are currently taking certain antibiotics
- Have a weakened immune systems, including HIV/AIDS
- Are being treated with drugs that can compromise the immune system, such as steroids
- Have cancer
- Are undergoing treatment for cancer with medicine or x-rays
Consult your doctor if you are traveling and are at risk for acquiring typhoid fever, especially if you have any of the above conditions.
What Other Ways Can Typhoid Be Prevented Besides Vaccination?
Below are some ways to decrease your risk of getting typhoid:
- Frequent and thorough hand washing, particularly before handling food
- Properly cleaning and preparing food to ensure no contamination
- Boiling water before drinking or using
- Avoiding potentially contaminated food or water
What Happens in the Event of an Outbreak?
If the suspected cause comes from a commercial food-service facility, the facility and employees should be investigated within 24 hours of determining the suspected source.
If the suspected source is a daycare facility, the facility and employees should be investigated and questioned about recent travel and symptoms.
Also, in the event of an outbreak, government agencies should educate the public on ways to prevent the transmission of typhoid, including proper hygiene habits and careful food preparation.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Vaccine and Immunizations
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Guidelines for the investigation and management of typhoid fever cases, carriers, and contacts. State of Maryland, Community Health Program website. Available at:
. Accessed February 6, 2007.
Typhoid. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Immunization Program website. Available at:
. Accessed March 3, 2007.
Typhoid vaccine. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
. Published May 2004. Accessed November 16, 2009.