Travel, Typhoid Fever and Prevention

In 1891 the death rate in Chicago from Typhoid fever (Salmonella enterica serovar typhi) was 174/100,000 persons–the highest ever! Potable water, better sanitation, careful food preparation and hand-washing have just about relegated this disease to history in the United States. However, between 1999 and 2006 there were 1,902 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control. Interestingly, 79% of those had traveled overseas within 30 days. The majority (67%) had traveled to the Indian subcontinent. Only 5% had been vaccinated prior to travel. Of special concern to the investigators is the trend of increasing antimicrobial resistance observed over the study period. Prevention remains the best policy!

PositiveTip: When traveling overseas be vigilant about your food and water sources (boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it); wash your hands well and frequently; and ask your healthcare provider if you should be vaccinated.