What is typhoid fever and what causes it?

Typhoid fever is contracted through contaminated food or water, a bacterial infection that causes acute inflammation of the liver leading to severe illness for 2 – 3 weeks. The bacteria responsible is similar to salmonella, a particularly nasty form of food poisoning. Unlike salmonella, if left untreated it can develop into a very serious condition which may require hospitalisation. In very bad cases it can be fatal.

Typhoid Vaccination at a Glance

Single-dose – £30 per dose
Hepatitis A and Typhoid – Single-dose – £100 per dose
Risk Areas: Worldwide.


Typhoid symptoms


The symptoms tend to develop 1 – 2 weeks after being infected with the Salmonella typhi bacteria. Treated properly you’ll improve within 3 – 5 days. Untreated it gets worse over the course of a few weeks and can result in life-threatening complications, taking weeks or even months to recover with a real risk of the disease returning. Common typhoid symptoms include:

  • Lost appetite

  • Headache

  • General aches and pains, including stomach pain

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Lethargy

  • Constipation (commonest in adults)

  • Diarrhoea (commonest in children)

  • A rash of small pink spots

  • Confusion

Regions where typhoid fever is common


Typhoid fever is common in most parts of the world, with the exception of industrialised nations like the USA, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and Japan. If you’re travelling to the developing world, it makes sense to get immunised.

How to minimise the risk of catching typhoid fever?


  • Get vaccinated

  • Wash or sanitise your hands frequently, the very best way to avoid infection

  • Avoid drinking untreated water. Stick to bottled or boiled water and avoid ice. Remember fizzy bottled water is safer than still bottled water

  • Use clean cups and glasses

  • Use bottled water to brush your teeth

  • Don’t swallow water in the shower or bath

  • Avoid raw fruit and veg, which might have been washed in contaminated water. The same goes for salad, especially lettuce. To be 100% safe, avoid raw foods completely and stick to hot food

  • Avoid food stored or served at room temperature

  • Avoid food from street vendors

About the vaccine and it's side effects?


Typhoid Injection

  • Course – one dose ideally 2 weeks before travel – but we can give it immediately before you travel if necessary

  • Booster – every 3 years

  • Side effects – local pain, redness, inflammation, flu like symptoms

  • Special instructions – you can also get typhoid immunisation orally instead of an injection

  • Special Certificate requirements – none

Oral typhoid immunisation

  • Vaccine name – Vivotiff

  • Property – a live attenuated vaccine, tablets given by mouth

  • Dose – capsules

  • Course – 3 doses taken on days 1, 3 and 5

  • Booster – every 1-3 years

  • Side effects – local pain, redness, inflammation, flu like symptoms and gastrointestinal disturbance. It can also cause immune system problems in pregnant women

  • Special instructions – Store your capsules in the fridge. Take each capsule an hour before a meal. Do not crush or open the capsule. Swallow it whole with a cold drink. Suitable for people aged 6 and over

How long will the protection last?


Three years.



Want to book a typhoid vaccination? You may simply want to explore the risks or find out more first. It’s quick and easy to book an appointment, either by phone or via our website. Call 0203 488 7351 to talk to a friendly, expert vaccination specialist.

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