Typhoid vaccine: A must-have for travelers
If you’re traveling to different parts of the world, you would need a typhoid vaccine. Typhoid fever is a serious and potentially deadly disease that’s common in many developing countries.
More than 21 million people get it every year and it’s fatal about 25 percent of the time. Although typhoid fever is rare in the United States, travelers who visit certain countries are at risk of contracting it.
Fortunately, there’s a vaccine for it. If you’re traveling to countries where typhoid fever is common, you should protect yourself by getting vaccinated.
Causes of typhoid fever
The bacteria Salmonella typhi causes typhoid fever. People most often get infected when they drink contaminated water or eat contaminated food.
The bacteria will enter the small intestine and are carried by white blood cells throughout the bloodstream. It then multiplies and infects other tissues and organs, causing various symptoms, such as fever, poor appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headaches.
People who don’t develop symptoms become carriers of typhoid fever and can be the source of new outbreaks of the disease for many years.
Fortunately, this disease is treatable with antibiotics and supportive therapy. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of typhoid fever, and you’ve recently traveled outside of the US, you should get tested at an urgent care center right away.
Where is typhoid fever common?
If you’re traveling to a country where typhoid fever is common, you should get a typhoid vaccine. The highest risk for contracting the disease is in South Asia. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends typhoid vaccinations for all travelers outside the US.
Here are parts of the world where typhoid fever is most common:
- Central America
- South America
When to get a typhoid fever vaccination?
The CDC recommends getting your vaccinations at least a month before your scheduled flight to a high-risk country. A booster is then given every three years if you continue to be at risk of infection.
Can I get the typhoid fever vaccine outside the US?
According to the CDC, it’s not recommended to get the vaccine outside of the US. To get the full protection of the vaccine, you must have it at least a month before you travel. But if necessary, it can be given closer to your travel date.
Additionally, vaccines in other countries may not be up to the same standards as those given in the US.
How is the typhoid fever vaccine administered?
There are two ways to administer the vaccine for typhoid fever:
- Injectable – This typhoid fever vaccine must be taken to individuals two years old and above at least two weeks before travel.
- Oral – The oral version consists of four tablets. People must take the tablets every other day and finish them at least a week before travel.
How long does the typhoid vaccine last?
How long the typhoid vaccine lasts depends on the vaccine. If you take the typhoid pill, you’ll need a booster every two years. For the injectable vaccine, a booster is needed every five years.
Where can I go to get a typhoid fever vaccine?
You can get a typhoid vaccine from your doctor’s office, a local pharmacy, health centers or health departments, or travel clinics. You can also book an appointment at an urgent care center for an on-site or at-home vaccination.
Prevention is key
It’s important to note that typhoid vaccines aren’t 100% effective. They can lose their effectiveness over time so it’s important to get the necessary booster at the appropriate time. Also, it helps to practice safe eating and drinking habits to avoid getting infected with typhoid fever.