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Everyone’s probably heard of Typhoid or Typhoid fever. What is it? Typhoid fever is an infection caused due to a bacteria called Salmonella typhi. It leads to a high fever, fatigue, stomach ache, headache, and loss of appetite, among other things. It may also lead to diarrhea and/or vomiting. Typhoid is potentially fatal. It has been found to be fatal in one-third of all cases, if left untreated, and is potentially highly contagious if an individual becomes a “carrier” of the bacteria. This is why it’s incredibly important to protect oneself from it.

The best way to do so is to prevent it by getting vaccinated. Most vaccinations are generally administered when individuals are infants or young children, which is why, if you have a baby and you haven’t already, you should plan out your little one’s vaccination schedule.

Typhoid vaccine

Typhoid vaccines are of two types - inactivated, and live and weakened. Inactivated vaccines are generally administered through injection while weakened strains are administered orally.

The vaccine that is recommended by the WHO with regard to prevention of typhoid is the Vi-rEPA vaccine which is a conjugate form of the Vi capsular polysaccharide vaccine (ViCPS). It is a purified strain of the bacteria which helps produce antibodies without introducing the actual bacterial particles. Both these vaccines are more efficient than the previous vaccine Ty21a, with the conjugate vaccine being of enhanced efficiency.

While the Ty21a vaccine showed most promising results within the first two years after vaccination, the ViCPS and Vi-rEPA have been found to prevent the disease in children up to 5 years of age.

When to get it done?

Typhoid vaccines are generally used/administered in areas where the infection is commonly found.

The injected(inactivated) form of the vaccine should not be given to children below 2 years of age. One dose is enough to provide protection, however, those who are at risk of contracting the infection should get booster shots every 2 years.

The orally(weakened) administered vaccine should not be given to children below 6 years old. In order for it to be effective, 4 doses need to be administered, with each dose being two days apart. Those who are at risk of contracting the disease require a booster dose every 5 years.

Risks

Like most vaccines, the most common risk of this vaccine is mild reactions. Reactions to the vaccine which may be seen in 1 in 20 people include mild fevers, headaches, and redness/swelling at the site of the injection (in the case of a shot), or stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting (in the case of oral vaccination). The instances of serious problems being caused due to Typhoid vaccines are very rare and generally consist of severe allergic reactions to the vaccine.

Points to remember

- If your child is ill, wait for them to recover before getting the vaccination.

- If there was a serious reaction to a previous dose, do not get subsequent doses administered.

- Be sure to disclose all allergy information to the doctor in order to ensure that your child does not suffer an allergic reaction

- Individuals with weak immune systems should not get this vaccine orally administered.

- If oral administration is being done, ensure that it is done at least 3 days after taking any antibiotics.

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