Typhoid fever vaccine 

Typhoid, or typhoid fever, is a serious and contagious disease. It’s caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi.

Typhoid fever causes severe symptoms not unlike the flu but marked by a severe fever. If typhoid is left untreated, it can kill up to 30 percent of people who get it.

There are also typhoid “carriers,” who may not show signs of the disease but can spread it to others.

Where to get the typhoid fever vaccine

Pharmaca has been providing immunization services recommended by the CDC for many years. We have locations in six states, and even offer some immunizations and vaccinations on a walk-in basis.

If you’re traveling, or think you may be in a position to need a typhoid fever vaccination, contact a local Pharmaca pharmacy to set up an appointment to get your next vaccine.

What is typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever is an illness that is spread through contaminated food and water, or through close contact with a person who is already infected. Signs and symptoms of typhoid usually include a high fever, headache, abdominal pain, and either constipation or diarrhea.

Most people who get typhoid fever feel better within a few days of starting a round of antibiotics, but a small number can die of complications.

Typhoid fever is rare these days in modern, industrialized countries. But it’s still a serious health threat in less developed parts of the world, especially for children.


Chart courtesy of the CDC

What causes typhoid fever?    

Typhoid fever is an acute illness associated with the fever caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. It can also be caused by Salmonella paratyphi, a related bacterium that usually causes a less severe illness. The bacteria that causes typhoid are left in water or food by a human carrier, which is then spread to others who come in contact with the bacteria left behind.

Typhoid fever in the US has been mostly eradicated since the early 1900s, when tens of thousands of cases were reported annually. Today, less than 400 cases are reported each year in the US, and these mostly from travelers who have recently been to Mexico and South America, and to a lesser extent India, Pakistan and Egypt.

Is typhoid fever contagious?

Typhoid fever is caused by bacteria spread from an infected person to a non-infected person, and is highly contagious. It’s most often spread from an infected person’s bacteria in the form of human waste. Then, if someone else eats food or drinks water that’s been contaminated with that bacteria, they can become infected and develop typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever symptoms         

Signs and symptoms of typhoid fever usually develop over time, specifically 1–3 weeks after exposure to the disease.

Early illness

Once the signs of typhoid fever do appear, they can include:

  • Fever that starts low and increases daily
  • Headache
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Dry cough
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Rash
  • Extremely swollen abdomen

Later illness

If the disease has progressed and you haven’t received treatment, further symptoms can include:

  • Becoming delirious
  • Not having energy to move
  • Exhaustion with your eyes half-closed, in what’s known as the “typhoid state”

It’s at this state that life-threatening complications develop. In some people, signs and symptoms can return up to two weeks after the initial fever has subsided.

Typhoid fever treatment         

Typhoid fever can be treated successfully with antibiotic medication. If the fever is diagnosed early on, antibiotic tablets will most likely be prescribed, and should be taken for 1–2 weeks.

The symptoms should start to improve within a few days of taking these antibiotics. While taking them, non-medical treatment of typhoid fever includes getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids and eating regularly, if possible. Patients are also encouraged to keep up good personal hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

Typhoid fever vaccination       

There are two vaccines for typhoid fever. One is an inactivated (killed) vaccine taken as a shot, and the other is a live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine taken in pill form.

Those you receive the typhoid shot will need 1 dose, then a booster every 2 years. And people who get the typhoid fever vaccine pills will need 4 doses every other day for a week, and a booster every 5 years.

Keep in mind there are certain people who should not get the vaccine. These people include:

  • Children younger than 2 years
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to the typhoid shot or any ingredient in the vaccine

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the typhoid shot.

People who should not take the oral typhoid fever vaccine include:

  • Children younger than 6 years
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to the oral typhoid vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the oral typhoid vaccine. And if you’ve been taking antibiotics, you need to wait for at least 3 days after you’ve stopped taking them to get the vaccine.

How long does the typhoid fever vaccine last? 

  • Typhoid pills provide up to five years’ protection and are approved for use in individuals over the age of 6. It’s taken orally over the course of four doses.
  • Typhoid vaccine provides protection for up to two years. This vaccine is approved for use in individuals over age 2.

Typhoid fever vaccine side effects       

As with any medication or vaccine, there are potential reactions to receiving the vaccine. Some common side effects of typhoid fever vaccine can include:

  • Fever
  • Head pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Not feeling well
  • Signs and symptoms at the injection site

Other, rarer side effects of the vaccine can also include:

  • Chest pain
  • Joint pain
  • Life-threatening allergic reaction
  • Liver problems