Diseases Home > Typhoid Fever Prevention

One good strategy for preventing typhoid fever is to get vaccinated against the illness. Two vaccines are available: a shot that contains killed Salmonella typhi bacteria and a vaccine taken by mouth containing a live but weakened strain of the bacteria. Avoiding risky foods and beverages (especially when traveling in the developing world) is another way to reduce your risk.

An Introduction to Typhoid Fever Prevention

There are two main typhoid fever prevention strategies:
  • Get vaccinated against typhoid fever
  • Avoid risky foods and drinks.

Using a Vaccine to Prevent Typhoid Fever

One way to prevent typhoid fever is with the typhoid vaccine. There are two types of vaccines.
One vaccine contains killed Salmonella typhi bacteria. This vaccine is administered by a shot. The other vaccine contains a live but weakened strain of the Salmonella bacteria that causes typhoid fever. This typhoid vaccine is taken by mouth.
If you are traveling to a country where typhoid is common, you should consider being vaccinated against typhoid. Remember that you will need to complete your vaccination at least one week before you travel so that the vaccine has time to take effect. Typhoid vaccines lose their effectiveness after several years, so if you were vaccinated in the past, check with your doctor to see if it is time for a booster vaccination.
(Click Typhoid Vaccine for more information on this prevention strategy.)

Avoiding Risky Foods and Drinks

It may surprise you, but watching what you eat and drink when you travel is as important as being vaccinated. This is because the vaccines are not completely effective at preventing typhoid fever. Avoiding risky foods will also help prevent other illnesses, including:
The following are some suggestions for decreasing the chances of eating or drinking contaminated products:
  • If you drink water, buy it bottled or bring it to a rolling boil for one minute before you drink it. Bottled carbonated water is safer than noncarbonated water.
  • Ask for drinks without ice, unless the ice is made from bottled or boiled water. Avoid Popsicles and flavored ices that may have been made with contaminated water.
  • Eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked and that are still hot and steaming.
  • Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled. Vegetables like lettuce are easily contaminated and are very hard to wash well.
  • When you eat raw fruit or vegetables that can be peeled, peel them yourself. (Wash your hands with soap first.) Do not eat the peelings.
  • Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors. It is difficult for food to be kept clean on the street, and many travelers get sick from food bought from street vendors.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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