The most effective way to control typhoid is through an integrated prevention and treatment approach that includes vaccines; improvements in safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); dependable typhoid diagnostics; and appropriate antibiotics.
WASH precautions are key to preventing typhoid. By safely separating waste from water sources that are used for drinking, cooking, washing, or swimming, and ensuring that water is treated and free of contaminants, the spread of typhoid is preventable.
Expanding coverage of typhoid vaccines—especially new typhoid conjugate vaccines—can reduce the chances that someone is sickened by the disease. Typhoid vaccines thereby reduce the need for antibiotics, slow further emergence of drug-resistant typhoid strains, and ultimately save lives.
Currently, typhoid diagnosis requires specialized equipment and personnel. Because of the technical requirements and costs, typhoid diagnosis is often unfeasible in low-resource health facilities. However, while improved diagnostics can help the global and scientific communities understand the full burden, ample data already show that typhoid is a significant public health threat and that proven prevention and treatment solutions can be deployed now, while improved diagnostics are still being developed .
Appropriate antibiotics are the only effective way to treat typhoid. Depending on the severity of the disease, additional supportive measures, including oral or intravenous hydration, may be necessary. With growing concerns about drug-resistant typhoid strains, it is crucial that the correct drug, dose, and length of treatment are prescribed.
Photo: Sabin Vaccine Institute/Mithila Jariwala