Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever, often called typhoid, is rare in the United States, but it’s still common in some countries. About 5,700 people get sick with typhoid in the United States every year, usually after traveling to other countries. The typhoid vaccine can help prevent the disease.

There are 2 types of typhoid vaccine:

  • The typhoid shot
  • The oral typhoid vaccine (swallowed as a pill)
Why is the typhoid vaccine important?

Typhoid can lead to serious complications, like a high fever that can last for weeks or months. As many as 3 in 10 people who get sick with typhoid and don’t get treatment will die.

Americans can get typhoid while traveling. If you’re traveling to a country where typhoid is common, getting vaccinated is one way to protect yourself.

What is typhoid?

Typhoid is caused by bacteria. Symptoms of typhoid may include:

  • A high fever that lasts a long time
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Not feeling hungry
  • A rash of flat, pink spots

Typhoid spreads when the poop from an infected person gets in water or food. Typhoid can spread when:

  • Waste from sewers gets into drinking water
  • Someone with typhoid doesn’t wash their hands before preparing food

People can still have typhoid germs in their body after their symptoms go away, and spread it to others without knowing it. Learn more about typhoid.

Who needs to get the typhoid vaccine?

The typhoid vaccine is recommended for people at high risk of coming in contact with typhoid. For example, you may need the typhoid vaccine if you:

  • Are in close contact with someone who has typhoid
  • Work in a lab studying typhoid
  • Are traveling to a country where typhoid is common

People who get the typhoid shot will need 1 dose, and a booster every 2 years. People who get the oral typhoid vaccine will need 4 doses every other day for a week, and a booster every 5 years.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from typhoid. To find out if the typhoid vaccine is recommended where you’re traveling, visit CDC’s travel website.

Who should not get the typhoid vaccine?

Some people should not get the typhoid vaccine — or may need to wait to get it.

Typhoid shot

Some people should not get the typhoid shot, including:

  • Children younger than 2 years
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to the typhoid shot or any ingredient in the vaccine

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the typhoid shot.

Oral typhoid vaccine

Some people should not get the oral typhoid vaccine, including:

  • Children younger than 6 years
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to the oral typhoid vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the oral typhoid vaccine. And if you’ve been taking antibiotics, you need to wait for at least 3 days after you’ve stopped taking them to get the vaccine.

Your doctor may recommend that you get the typhoid shot instead of the oral vaccine if you have a weakened immune system, like if you:

  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Have cancer
  • Are taking medicine that can affect the immune system

Your doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for you.

What are the side effects of the typhoid vaccine?

Side effects from the typhoid vaccine are usually mild and go away in a few days.

Typhoid shot

Side effects of the typhoid shot may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Headache
  • Fever

Serious side effects from the typhoid shot are very rare.

Oral typhoid vaccine

The most common side effects of the oral typhoid vaccine:

  • Fever
  • Headache

Less often, the oral typhoid vaccine can cause:

  • Stomach pain
  • Throwing up
  • A rash

Serious side effects from the oral typhoid vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there's a very small chance that the typhoid vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the typhoid vaccine is much safer than getting typhoid. Learn more about vaccine side effects.

Where can I get more information about the typhoid vaccine?

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.


Last Reviewed: January 2018