Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that has become rare in industrialized countries, but that is still common in countries with poor hygiene routine where it is responsible for up to 20 million estimated cases and up to 161,000 deaths each year (1). It is contracted by drinking or eating the Salmonella typhi bacterium in contaminated food or water. The reservoir of this pathogen is strickly human.
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Areas of highest risk - typhoid mapAreas of highest risk - typhoid map

Areas of Highest Risk

Areas of highest risk incpude parts of Asia, Africa and Central and South America 2, 3.

Did You Know?

It relies on good hygiene and vaccination as the emergence of drug-resistant strains makes treatment more complex.

Transmission usually occurs through the fecal-oral route by ingestion of contaminated food or water

Symptoms and Treatment

  • Following a 5 to 21-day incubation period, typical signs, including diffuse abdominal pain, headache, prolonged fever, anorexia, nausea, loss of appetite, and constipation or sometimes diarrhea, progressively appear 4.
  • Daytime drowsiness and nighttime insomnia are characteristic signs.
  • Possible complications include gastrointestinal hemorrhage and perforation, heart failure, and encephalitis.
  • Effective antibiotics are available, and the prognosis in patients under treatment is usually favorable.


  1. WHO. Typhoid Fact sheet. Updated January 2018, accessed January 2018. https://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/typhoid/en/
  2. Fit For Travel. Typhoid. Available at: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/disease-prevention-advice/typhoid.aspx. Accessed March 2019.
  3. Travel Health Pro. Typhoid Fever. Available at: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/disease/184/typhoid-fever. Accessed March 2019.
  4. WHO. Typhoid Fever vaccines position paper; WER 2008, 83: 49-60. Accessed January 2018. https://www.who.int/wer/2008/wer8306.pdf?ua=1

 This page last update: 09-2019

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