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Warner Plaza Urgent Care offers a wide range of vaccinations, including both typhoid vaccines.

What Is Typhoid Fever?

Typhoid fever is a serious, sometimes life-threatening bacterial disease that is spread through contaminated food and water. Typhoid is caused by a bacteria called Salmonella Typhi, which is also known as Salmonella enteric serotype Typhi. When a person is exposed to Salmonella Typhi, the bacteria can cause an infection of the intestines and blood.

Salmonella Typhi is spread through ingesting food or water that is contaminated with the feces of of an infected person. According to the CDC, some people can be infected with Salmonella Typhi but show no symptoms. These people, however, are still carriers of the bacteria and will shed the bacteria in their feces the same way a symptomatic person does.

After exposure to the Salmonella Typhi bacteria, symptoms will not be seen immediately. The bacteria has an incubation period of 6-30 days, after which infected persons may begin to show symptoms of typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some people experience only the early symptoms of typhoid then recover to full health. According to a CDC report, early symptoms of typhoid fever include gradually increasing fatigue, an increasing fever (that can reach high temperatures of 102 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit by the third or fourth day of symptoms), headache, malaise, anorexia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and a rash of rose-colored spots. If left untreated, typhoid fever can progress to more serious symptoms. After two to three weeks of illness, intestinal hemorrhage or perforation may occur, which leads to internal bleeding. This internal bleeding is life-threatening and can result in death. 

It’s notable that the symptoms of typhoid can be similar to the symptoms of malaria. If a patient is thought to have malaria but does not respond to malaria treatments, typhoid fever infection should be considered, especially if the patient recently traveled to a typhoid endemic area.

What Is the Typhoid Vaccine?

The typhoid vaccine is a vaccine that helps prevent the spread of typhoid fever. There are two typhoid vaccines, both of which can help prevent Salmonella Typhi infection.

One kind of typhoid vaccine is the oral typhoid vaccine. This vaccine, which is also known by the name Vivotif, is an orally administered vaccine that is made from attenuated (weakened) live bacteria. This form of the vaccine is taken in four doses. Patients take one capsule every other day for one week. According to information in the Immunization Action Coalition’s Typhoid Vaccine Information Statement, the last of these capsules should be taken at least one week before potential exposure to the bacteria to allow the vaccine time to work. After taking Vivotif, the oral vaccine lasts for up to five years. For those experiencing ongoing risk of Typhoid fever exposure, booster doses of Vivotif are needed every five years.

The other of the typhoid vaccines is the injectable typhoid vaccine. This injectable vaccine, also known as the typhoid shot, is made from inactive (killed) bacteria. Only one dose of the typhoid shot is needed. This form of the vaccine should be administered at least two weeks before expected exposure. The injectable form of the typhoid vaccine lasts for a shorter period of time than the oral vaccine. The injectable vaccine lasts for two years, so those who remain at risk of typhoid fever for more than two years after being vaccinated must receive booster doses every two years to maintain vaccination.

Typhoid vaccines are useful in helping prevent typhoid infection but are only about 50 to 80 percent effective. Because of this, the CDC recommends in their Vaccine Information Statement that travelers headed to high risk areas remain careful about what they eat and drink.

Who Should Get the Typhoid Vaccine?

The typhoid vaccine is recommended for anyone traveling to the developing world. Additionally, those in close contact with persons infected with typhoid should receive the vaccine, as should laboratory workers who work with the Salmonella Typhi bacteria.

Each of the two typhoid vaccines has different age requirements. According to the IAC, the oral typhoid vaccine should not be given to children under six years of age. The injectable form of the vaccine should not be given to children under two years of age. While those who are under the age of two cannot currently receive the typhoid vaccine, a new vaccine for typhoid that would allow children aged six months or older to get the vaccine is currently being developed. This new vaccine, which is a conjugate vaccine, recently received pre-qualification by the World Health Organization and may be able to be used to vaccinate infants in the future.

According to the CDC’s Typhoid Vaccine Information Statement, the oral vaccine is not recommended for those with weakened immune systems, which includes those suffering from a variety of health conditions. People with weakened immune systems include those with HIV/AIDS, those with cancer, those undergoing cancer radiation or taking cancer treatment drugs, and those taking a medication that affects the immune system. People who have a weakened immune system are still advised by the CDC to get the typhoid vaccine if there are traveling to an area that would put their health at risk. However, the CDC recommends that they get the typhoid shot instead of the oral vaccine.

For both forms of the vaccine, those who have had a life-threatening reaction to the typhoid vaccine or any of its components should not get the vaccine. Additionally, those who are moderately to severely ill are usually advised to wait until their health has improved before getting vaccinated.

Where Does Typhoid Fever Occur?

Typhoid fever is common in most parts of the world, except for in certain industrialized countries (such as the United States, Canada, western Europe, Australia, and Japan).

Certain regions of the developing world have higher rates of typhoid fever. Because of this, travelers to certain areas are more strongly advised to receive one of the typhoid fever vaccines to protect their health. Areas with high rates of typhoid fever include developing areas in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The area with the highest risk of typhoid is south Asia.

Since typhoid fever is spread through contaminated food or water, areas of the world with low standards of hygiene and water supply facilities are the most likely to have a higher risk of typhoid. These low standards can put travelers to many different areas at risk of Salmonella Typhi exposure. Since the typhoid vaccine is not 100 percent effective (and is instead about 50 to 80 percent effective), travelers to any area with low standards of hygiene and water supply facilities are advised to be careful about what they eat and drink, whether the area is currently typhoid endemic or not.

Warner Plaza Urgent Care offers both typhoid vaccines. To get vaccinated, call to make an appointment, make an appointment online, or come in for a walk-in appointment.

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