Typhoidfever is an acute illness that causes high fever and can be life threatening. It is caused by the bacterium, Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi. Please note that most of the common “salmonella” infections in the United States are not of the variety that causes Typhoid fever; the strands of salmonella that cause this illness are typhoid specific. People who have traveled to an endemic area are subject to contracting this illness by eating foods that have not been cooked or cleaned properly and drinking the local water.
Symptoms of Typhoid range from a mild to life threatening. The key symptom to Typhoid is a high fever that lasts persistently, for days. The temperature normally ranges from 103 to 104degrees Fahrenheit. People may also experience headache, malaise, decreased appetite, or a rash.
Areas that are endemic include South Asia, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Moreover, travelers that visit local relatives or rural cities that are not in the tourist populated areas, travelers who eat foods that have not been cooked and served hot, or those who drink local water that has not been boiled, are at a greater risk of contracting Typhoid as well.
Vaccination is available for Typhoid, either as an injection or pill form. Please note, neither vaccine guarantees 100% immunity to Typhoid, but by taking the vaccination, you are at a much lower risk of contracting this life threatening illness. Furthermore, you can lower your risk by eating only cooked foods that are served hot and by only drinking carbonated beverages and water that has been boiled. In order to assure greatest levels of immunity, the traveler should be vaccinated 2 weeks prior to leaving the States. For the oral Typhoid pills, the traveler will take one pill every other day, for a total of 8 days prior to departure. For the injection, the traveler should receive the injection two weeks prior to departure. The oral pill will provide immunity for 5 years and the injection provides immunity for 2years. Neither form of the vaccine is given to pregnant women.
Remember, if you can’t cook it or peel it, then don’t eat it!