Typhoid In Africa

Typhoid in Africa is not necessarily just a diarrhoeal disease. When it does occur it often presents with cold or flu-type symptoms.

Typhoid Facts

  • Typhoid is a bacterial infection of the digestive tract, caused by gram-negative bacillus Salmonella typhi.
  • It is spread by faecal-oral route via contaminated food and water from an infected human carrier. Typhoid is often transmitted by person-to-person contact, especially via food handlers.
  • There is a higher risk of typhoid in Africa in undeveloped areas.

Typhoid Fever Symptoms

  • Typhoid begins like a cold or flu with headaches, sore throat and fever. Diarrhoea may not be present.
  • Constipation may appear first, later followed by bloody diarrhoea.
  • Typhoid is likely to be the cause if there is a high fever but normal or low pulse rate.
  • The illness may get worse in the second week with the high temperature causing delirium.

Summary For African Travellers and Hunters

  • Vaccination (injectable or oral) for travel to risk areas should be considered. Vaccination against both Hepatitis A and Typhoid combined is also available for travellers, as the two diseases have a similar epidemiology and share some transmission routes.
  • As typhoid vaccination does not offer 100% protection, avoiding potentially contaminated food and drink is essential.
  • Food precautions - avoid reheated or stored food, avoid shellfish, raw fish, raw vegetables, raw meat and salads. Your hunting camp catering should be fine as food items will have been washed and prepared correctly. Food precautions are advised in places where you don't know the hygiene standards like street cafes and street vendors.
  • Water precautions - take care to wash food. Be cautious about having ice in your drink in places where you can't judge the hygiene standards. In a hunting camp the ice will be made from bottled water and cooking is done with bottled water. Take care where you choose to swim - only go in pools that are clean and well-maintained.
  • Hand cleanliness - wash and dry hands before holding food or hold food with a clean implement. A hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can also be used. Avoid bringing your hands near your mouth unless they are clean.

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Page Updated: Mar 2024

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