Typhoid fever is a bacterial/febrile illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. This bacteria only infects humans, and is picked up when a person ingests contaminated food and/or water and the infection occurs in the digestive tract, reticuloendothelial system, and gall bladder.
It is estimated that there are more than 22 million cases worldwide annually, and of those, more than 200,000 related deaths.
The risk for Typhoid Fever is highest for travelers to South Asia, but it is also a risk in East and SE Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. It is prevalent in countries with warm climates, and less-developed areas. Risk is also elevated for those individuals who travel for longer periods of time, those who are adventurous eaters, and those who travel out into rural areas.
The risk of contracting Typhoid Fever is higher for individuals who are visiting friends and relatives in home environments. This situation can occur for a number of reasons; such as lack of awareness of the risk of Typhoid, a number of these travelers not seeking pre-travel care, cultural and language barriers, a lack of trust in medical providers or the health care system, or a belief that returning to their native environment would give them immunity.