Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is a disease of the bowel and bloodstream, caused by a bacteria which only infects humans. It is a problem in countries with poor sanitation or a lack of clean water. Most cases in travellers are in those who have visited India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, but typhoid is found worldwide.

Symptoms

Fever, headache, loss of appetite, feeling generally unwell. The fever tends to be higher late afternoon or evening.

How do you catch typhoid fever?

Typhoid is most commonly caught through drinking water or eating food that is contaminated by infected human faeces or urine.

Incubation period

1-3 weeks

Diagnosis

Medical examination, blood tests, and tests on stool specimens or bone marrow confirm the diagnosis.

Prevention

A vaccination is available, but travellers must also take care to avoid eating or drinking contaminated food and water and should wash hands before preparing or eating food.

Treatment

Typhoid can be treated with antibiotics, but sometimes relapses can occur. Relapses do not tend to be severe.