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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 18°C
Alamy Stock Photo RN3CAD Typhoid fever vaccine in a glass vial
# typhoid fever
Public advised to get travel vaccines after recent cases of typhoid fever in Mid West region
The Department said that high-risk areas included the Indian subcontinent, Africa, south and southeast Asia and South America.

PUBLIC HEALTH CHIEFS advised people today to receive travel vaccines after a number of people were recently hospitalised in the Mid West region for potentially deadly typhoid fever.

The Department of Public Health Mid-West, based in Limerick City, advised that travel vaccines were necessary “to prevent serious illness caused by gastrointestinal diseases, when travelling abroad this summer, including typhoid fever, hepatitis A and cholera”.

It follows “investigations into a small number of typhoid fever cases in the Mid-West linked to travel overseas, some of whom were hospitalised, in recent weeks”.

Typhoid is a contagious infection caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi, however “vaccination against typhoid fever is recommended if you’re travelling to parts of the world where the condition is common”, said a department spokesman.

“High risk regions include the Indian subcontinent, Africa, south and southeast Asia and South America, infection can occur when people visit high risk regions, particularly where there is poor sanitation resulting in food and water contamination.”

They warned: “A person infected with typhoid fever can potentially infect others in their household and workplace. The bacteria will be in the stool (poo) after the person goes to the toilet, if they do not wash their hands properly (soap and hot water), they can contaminate food and surfaces they touch”.

“Symptoms of typhoid fever usually develop 10 to 20 days after a person becomes infected. It typically causes fever, headache, nausea and loss of appetite, there may be cough and constipation or diarrhoea, and some people develop a rash.”

“Symptoms may be mild, and with treatment, symptoms should improve quickly. If typhoid fever is not treated, symptoms usually get worse over the course of a number of weeks, and there is a risk of life threatening complications.”

The department of public health spoke as said the public can minimise risk of infection by:

  • getting vaccinated
  • washing your hands with soap and hot water
  • drinking only bottled water or boiled water
  • eating food that has been thoroughly cooked
  • avoiding raw fruit and vegetables that cannot be peeled
  • avoiding food and drink from street traders.

“Vaccines against typhoid fever are available in Ireland, and can be arranged by visiting your doctor or travel clinic.”

Public Health Mid-West Area Director, Dr Mai Mannix said: “For many people and families, it will be their first overseas holiday since before the COVID-19 pandemic, my advice is to avail of any necessary travel vaccines as part of your preparations for the summer break, to protect you and your loved ones from serious illness while abroad.”

“Even a mild infection of a disease like typhoid fever can be uncomfortable and spoil a holiday experience,” said Dr Mannix.

“If you return from a high risk area with symptoms of gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and/or diarrhoea please seek advice from your doctor to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment and prevent onward transmission,” added the department spokesman.

For more information, visit the HPSC factsheet on typhoid fever here

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