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Typhoid Fever: Causes, Prevention & Vaccination

  • timeline Samya Ghosal
  • 3 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

Typhoid is a major public health challenge in India. Approximately, 27 million people suffer from typhoid illness every year in India. The disease places a significant burden among young children wherein about 494 children per 100,000, in the age group of 5-15 years, suffer from typhoid.

Typhoid and paratyphoid fevers are life-threatening infections characterized by high fever, diarrhea and vomiting. These are one of the most common diseases caused by water or food contaminated with the bacteria Salmonella typhi and Salmonella paratyphi


  • Fever that starts low and may increase daily or remain steady is a hallmark of typhoid
  • Headache
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea (sometimes, blood-tinged stools) or constipation
  • Rashes on the abdomen or chest
  • Extremely swollen abdomen
  • Mild cough

typhoid symptoms

Atypical manifestations include:

  • Urinary symptoms like retention
  • Jaundice or hepatosplenomegaly
  • Neurological manifestations like delirium or Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Osteomyelitis


The bacteria that cause typhoid fever spread through contaminated food (especially shellfish) or water(sewage contaminated often).You can contract the infection if you eat food handled by someone with typhoid fever (often asymptomatic) who hasn’t washed carefully after using the toilet. You can also get it by hand-to-mouth transmission after using a contaminated toilet and not practicing good hand hygiene. 

Even after treatment with antibiotics, a small number of people who recover from typhoid fever continue to harbour the bacteria in their intestinal tracts or gallbladders, often for years. These people, called chronic carriers, shed the bacteria in their faeces and are capable of infecting others, although they no longer have signs or symptoms of the disease themselves. About 3-5% of people become carriers of the bacteria after the acute illness.


  • Wash hands frequently before eating or preparing food, as well as after using the toilet.
  • Avoid drinking contaminated water by ensuring water is bottled or boiled. 
  • Avoid drinks with ice, unless you know the ice is made from boiled or bottled water. Also, avoid flavoured ices that could have been made with water that is contaminated.
  • Eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked and avoid foods that have been stored for a longer period of time.
  • Eat raw vegetables that have been peeled and washed properly. Vegetables such as lettuce are particularly at risk of contamination and are very difficult to clean properly.
  • Avoid food and drink being sold by street vendors.
  • Ensure shellfish is adequately prepared. 

typhoid prevention


At present, there are two vaccines against typhoid fever that have been approved by the World Health Organization. These include:

  • Ty21a: One capsule is taken orally every other day until at least 3 doses have been received. A booster is recommended every 3 years. Children need to be at least 6 years of age to receive this vaccine and then require boosters every five years.
  • ViCPS  – This is administered as a single injection subcutaneous or intramuscular. The booster for adults is recommended every 3 years. This is given to children of at least 2 years of age and requires a booster every 2 years.

None of these vaccines offers complete effectiveness against typhoid fever therefore, other guidelines should be followed in order to prevent the diseases. If you are suffering from typhoid or showing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you can consult with top doctors in your city on the Mfine app.

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    Samya Ghosal

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