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Typhoid illustration

What is typhoid?

Potentially fatal bacteria guilty of causing a fever, stomach pain, headaches and constipation or diarrhoea. Travellers in areas without good sanitation or clean water should watch out for contaminated food and water.

Typhoid illustration

Risk areas for Typhoid

Map of risk areas for Typhoid
  • Key fact

    Where antibiotics are available, less than 1% of people with typhoid die from the disease.1

  • How do you get typhoid?

    By eating food such as seafood, raw vegetables and salad or drinking water contaminated by faeces from someone who has been infected with typhoid.3,4

  • Which countries are affected by typhoid?

    The disease is common in parts of the world where there is less access to clean water and sanitation is poor.3 This includes most countries in Asia, Central and South America and Africa (see map).2

  • What are the symptoms of typhoid?

    Symptoms will usually start 1-2 weeks after being exposed to the bacteria3 and include fever, headache, stomach aches and pains, a cough, constipation or diarhhoea.3,5

  • How serious is typhoid?

    If caught and treated early, patients can get treated at home and be back not normal in under two weeks.3,5 However, if the patient goes for more than a few weeks untreated, complications can occur leading – in severe cases – to bleeding and perforation of the bowel, or damage to the brain that can affect mood and behaviour.3

  • Can I prevent getting typhoid?

    You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

    • Visit your nearest convenient pharmacy or specialist travel health clinic for a risk assessment before your trip
    • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat, seafood, fish, fruit or vegetables. Choose freshly-cooked food that’s served piping hot or fruit that you peel yourself.4
    • Avoid ice and stick to fizzy drinks in sealed bottles or cans, or freshly boiled hot drinks.4
    • Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating and handling food, and after using the toilet.4

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  1. White JN. Salmonella typhi (Typhoid Fever) and S. paratyphi (Paratyphoid Fever). February 2010. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  2. Magasale V, et al. Burden of typhoid fever in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic, literature-based update with risk-factor adjustment. Lancet Glob Health. 2014;2:e570-80.
  3. World Health Organization. Weekly Epidemiological Record. Typhoid vaccines: WHO position paper – March 2018. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2020. Chapter 2 Preparing International Travelers. Food & Water Precautions. June 2019. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  5. NHS. Conditions. Typhoid Fever. June 2018. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)

UK-BOTB-2100028 May 2021