What is it

Typhoid fever is a life-threatening bacterial (Salmonella typhi) infection commonly occurring in developing countries with poor sanitation and low standards of hygiene1. Most cases are acquired while traveling internationally1.

Who is at risk

Risk of contracting typhoid infection depends on several factors including:1

  • Travel destination
  • Length of trip
  • Activities done during the trip

Risk is low for travellers going to areas with higher standards of sanitation and safe food handling practices.1

Risk is higher for travelers going to areas with typhoid occurrence that has poor sanitations, limited access to safe water and/or if you’re visiting friends and relatives.1 The highest risk for typhoid fever is in south Asia; other risk areas include African, Asian, the Caribbean, Central and South America.1

What are the symptoms

Symptoms typically appear 1 to 3 weeks after being infected, and some people may not develop any symptoms1. Symptoms include1:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Severe cases may present with worsening of symptoms and cause life threatening complications1.

How is it spread

Commonly transmitted by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with the feces of an infected person including1:

  • Eating food or drinking beverages that has been handled by an infected person
  • Drinking water that has been contaminated with sewage
  • Eating shellfish taken from sewage-polluted areas
  • Eating raw fruits and vegetables which may have been fertilized with human waste.

How is it prevented

  • Practice safe food and water precautions1
  • Wash hands frequently with soap under warm water for at least 20 seconds before eating, preparing food, and after using the bathroom or changing diapers1
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water is not available1
  • Vaccination prior to travelling to areas with typhoid occurrence1

How is it treated

Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics1. Medical advice is recommended for the onset of symptoms. for further information regarding typhoid fever and immunization, please speak with your healthcare provider.


  1. Government of Canada. Typhoid Fever. (2016) https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/diseases/typhoid