Typhoid fever in travellers: estimating the risk of acquisition by country

Daniel P. Forster, Karin Leder

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11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Typhoid fever is a notifiable disease within Australia. Although studies in endemic regions give an indication of acquisition risk, many countries lack reliable data, and little is known of the absolute or relative risk in Australian travellers. By combining notified case data with travel statistics provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the aim of this study was to give an indication of risk for typhoid acquisition among Australian travellers. METHODS: Australian typhoid notifications between 1st January 2010 and 30th June 2017 were grouped by country of acquisition and age category (<15 or ≥15 years). Australian travel data were used to inform time at risk and incidence rate of Australian typhoid notifications pertaining to country and region of acquisition. Salmonella Paratyphi infections, though notifiable, were excluded as the focus was vaccine preventable illness. Data from New South Wales and Victoria were used to examine the incidence in those acquiring infection in their country of birth (COB) against travellers who did not. RESULTS: Nine hundred twenty-three cases of typhoid were notified over the period of review, 96% of which were acquired overseas. The greatest determinant of risk was travel destination, with countries in south Asia associated with highest crude incidence rate (252 per 100 000 person-years), particularly Bangladesh. Younger age and immigrants returning to their COB were generally associated with higher risk of acquisition. CONCLUSIONS: The risk of typhoid fever in Australian travellers to endemic regions is considerable. Immigrants returning to their COB appear to be at higher risk and it is likely that this risk extends to their traveling dependents. These findings help clinicians and public health officials to plan and advise pre-travel vaccination strategies with at-risk individuals and groups. Additional sociodemographic data collection with Australian typhoid notifications would enhance the surveillance of differing international travel risk groups leaving Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbertaab150
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • salmonella typhi
  • Enteric fever
  • imported infection
  • surveillance
  • travel
  • vaccine-preventable disease
  • visiting friends and relatives (VFR)

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