Typhoid fever is an acute illness associated with fever that is most often caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. It can also be caused by Salmonella paratyphi, a related bacterium that usually leads to a less severe illness. The bacteria are deposited in water or food by a human carrier and are then spread to other people in the area. Typhoid fever is rare in industrial countries but continues to be a significant public-health issue in developing countries.
The incidence of typhoid fever in the United States has markedly decreased since the early 1900s. Today, approximately 400 cases are reported annually in the United States, mostly in people who recently have traveled to endemic areas. This is in comparison to the 1920s, when over 35,000 cases were reported in the U.S. This improvement is the result of improved environmental sanitation. Mexico and South America are the most common areas for U.S. citizens to contract typhoid fever. India, Pakistan, and Egypt are also known high-risk areas for developing this disease. Worldwide, typhoid fever affects more than 13 million people annually, with over 500,000 patients dying of the disease.
If traveling to endemic areas, you should consult with your health-care professional and discuss if you should receive vaccination for typhoid fever.
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Archived: March 20, 2014
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