International travellers’ health warning for typhoid

Travelling overseas? Be sure to see your GP to obtain the appropriate vaccinations.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is encouraging people who are travelling overseas during the Christmas and New Year period to be vaccinated against typhoid and hepatitis A.

WSLHD population health director Associate Professor Stephen Corbett said that from December 2018 to May 2019 there was a significant increase from previous years in typhoid and paratyphoid infections in Western Sydney travellers who visited India, Nepal Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“People planning to travel to these areas should visit their GP beforehand to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date,” Prof Corbett said.

“Typhoid infections are usually acquired through eating and drinking contaminated food or water.

“Paratyphoid is an illness similar to typhoid and is also something to be wary of when travelling. This bacterial infection is not vaccine preventable, but can be avoided through safe drinking and eating practices.

“Both typhoid and hepatitis A are preventable by vaccination.

“Symptoms of typhoid and paratyphoid include prolonged fever, sweating, severe headache, fatigue, abdominal pains, diarrhoea or constipation, lack of appetite and weight loss.

“Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver.  The virus is spread by contaminated food, water or direct contact with an infected person.”

To keep healthy while travelling and to help prevent food borne illnesses:

•            Wash your hands before meals and especially after using the toilet

•             Make sure food is adequately cooked just prior to eating

•             Avoid ice drinks or having cold drinks made from the local water supply.  Only drink boiled or bottled water while travelling, even to brush your teeth

•             Wash fruit in bottled or boiled water or peel before eating

The NSW Government has invested approximately $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.

For further information about staying healthy when travelling, click here.