Typhoid Vaccine: What it is & Guideline on Vaccination for International Travel
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Typhoid - What it is and How dangerous

Typhoid fever can be a life-threatening disease. Symptoms of infection include persistent high fever, weakness, stomach pain, headache, diarrhea or constipation, cough, and loss of appetite.

People who are actively ill with typhoid fever and people who are carriers of the bacteria that cause typhoid fever can both spread the bacteria to other people. When someone eats or drinks contaminated food or drink, the bacteria can multiply and spread into the bloodstream, causing typhoid fever. People who do not get treatment can continue to have a fever for weeks or months. As many as 30% of people who do not get treatment die from complications of typhoid fever. There are fewer antibiotic treatment options as drug-resistant typhoid bacteria have become more common in many parts of the world.

Typhoid fever, or typhoid, spreads through contaminated food or water. Caused by Salmonella typhi, typhoid fever is an acute illness infecting about 21.5 million people worldwide. Typhoid fever is common in many regions of the world, including parts of East and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Typhoid fever is not common in the United States, according to the CDC.

Typhoid fever can be fatal in up to 10% of reported cases. There has been an increase in the number of drug-resistant strains of Salmonella typhi since 1989. Unfortunately, drug resistance is spreading worldwide due to overcrowding, poor sanitation, inadequate control of infections, and extensive international travel, trade, and population movements.

Typhoid Vaccine: What it is & Guideline on Vaccination for International Travel
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What is Typhoid Vaccine?

There are two vaccines to prevent typhoid fever. One is an inactivated (killed) vaccine and the other is a live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine. Your health care provider can help you decide which type of typhoid vaccine is best for you.

Inactivated typhoid vaccine is administered as an injection (shot). It may be given to people 2 years and older. One dose is recommended at least 2 weeks before travel. Repeated doses are recommended every 2 years for people who remain at risk.

Live typhoid vaccine is administered orally (by mouth). It may be given to people 6 years and older. One capsule is taken every other day, for a total of 4 capsules. The last dose should be taken at least 1 week before travel. Each capsule should be swallowed whole (not chewed) about an hour before meals with cold or lukewarm water. A booster vaccine is needed every 5 years for people who remain at risk. Important: live typhoid vaccine capsules must be stored in a refrigerator (not frozen).

U.S. Vaccination Recommendations

Routine typhoid vaccination is not recommended in the United States, but typhoid vaccine is recommended by CDC for:

(1) Travelers to parts of the world where typhoid is common. (NOTE: typhoid vaccine is not 100% effective and is not a substitute for being careful about what you eat or drink.) CDC recommends vaccination for people traveling to places where typhoid fever is common, such as South Asia, especially India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh.

(2) People in close contact with a typhoid carrier.

(3) Laboratory workers who work with Salmonella typhi bacteria.

Typhoid vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Typhoid vaccines are not 100% effective. Always practice safe eating and drinking habits to help prevent infection. Typhoid vaccines lose effectiveness over time. The injectable vaccine requires a booster every 2 years, and the oral vaccine requires a booster every 5 years. If you were vaccinated in the past, ask your doctor if it is time for a booster vaccination. Taking antibiotics will not prevent typhoid fever; they only help treat it.

Typhoid Vaccine: What it is & Guideline on Vaccination for International Travel
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Risks of a vaccine reaction

(1) Pain from the shot, redness, or swelling at the site of the injection, fever, and headache, and general discomfort can happen after inactivated typhoid vaccine.

(2) Fever, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting can happen after live typhoid vaccine.

People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.

An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call your health care provider, 9-1-1 and get the person to the nearest hospital.

How to get vaccinated?

The typhoid vaccine is recommended for almost all international travelers. You may need the vaccine if they will be visiting smaller cities or rural areas. The vaccine is highly recommended for regions with drug-resistant typhoid. This includes large portions of Asia and Africa.

Both typhoid vaccines are in-stock and available at all Passport Health travel clinics throughout North America. Travelers should get the vaccine at least two weeks before a trip to allow the vaccine time to work.

Amino found that the median network rate for a typhoid vaccine is $200. The cost ranges across the US from $158 to $254—a significant difference. Most health insurance plans, including Medicare, do not cover the cost of typhoid vaccines or any other travel vaccinations. While you can always check with your insurance company, you’ll likely pay the full cost of the vaccine out-of-pocket.

There are no alternatives to a typhoid vaccine, but the CDC recommends taking these precautions while traveling:

(1) Drink only sealed bottled water

(2) Avoid street food and food served at room temperature

(3) Eat only fruits and vegetables that have been washed or peeled

(4) Wash your hands often, and avoiding touching your face

For more information about top diseases, symptoms, how to treat and possible vaccinations, click here!

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