Typhoid Vaccine

What Is Typhoid?

Typhoid , or typhoid fever, is a serious and potentially fatal illness caused by specific bacteria. Typhoid can be prevented by a vaccine. Although the typhoid vaccine is effective, it cannot prevent 100% of typhoid infections.Typhoid fever does occur within the US; however, it is more common in developing countries where water is likely to be contaminated by bacteria. It is important, particularly when traveling in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, to be aware of possible bacteria contamination of food and water.The bacterium is 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
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Rash
Typhoid is treated with antibiotics. Without treatment, fever and symptoms may continue for weeks or months, and death may occur as a result of complications from the bacterial infection.

What Is the Typhoid Vaccine?

There are 2 types of typhoid vaccines:
  • An inactivated vaccine that is injected
  • A live, weakened vaccine given orally
The inactivated vaccine is given as a shot. It should not be given to children younger than 2 years old. A single dose should be given at least 14 days before traveling abroad. Booster shots are needed every 2 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 given orally. It should not be given to children younger than 6 years old. Four doses, with a day separating each dose, are needed. A booster dose is needed every 5 years.

Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?

Although the typhoid vaccine is not given 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 the bacterium—typically laboratory workers
Boosters of the inactive vaccine are required every 2 years for people at risk of contracting typhoid, and every 5 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 the bacterium.

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