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Doctors warn travellers of vaccine shortage for deadly typhoid fever
Shortage follows a recall by one pharmaceutical company of 88 per cent of its typhoid vaccine stock in OctoberTyphoid fever occurs mostly in developing countries in areas with poor sanitationProves fatal in up to 30 per cent of cases if left untreated
11:55 GMT, 26 December 2012
Holidaymakers escaping the British winter to exotic climes may struggle to get immunised against typhoid, doctors have warned.
There is a UK shortage of the vaccine for the potentially lethal disease, following a recall by pharmaceutical company of 88 per cent of its stock.
Now travellers are finding that while the immunisation is usually provided free of charge by local GP surgeries many are running out of the vaccine.
Noone is a fan of injections. But some travellers may struggle to get the vaccine they need for typhoid fever before going abroad
Typhoid fever can be found throughout the developing world, most commonly in South Asia and South East Asia. The UK see around 350 cases a year the majority of which are contracted by those returning from a trip to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The life-threatening bacterial
infection is contracted from contaminated food or water and is seen in
areas with poor sanitation.
It can cause serious complications
such as internal bleeding or splitting of the bowel and can prove fatal
if not promptly treated with antibiotics. Typhoid fever kills around 200,000 people around the world each year.
Salmonella typhi is the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. Complications can include internal bleeding
Manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur MSD recalled 16
batches of Typhim Vi vaccine in October because tests found some samples were too
It meant as many as 730,000 people vaccinated between January 2011 and October 2012 could have received only partial protection.
'Stocks of Typhim Vi are still in short supply and this may continue into the early part of 2013,' a Sanofi Pasteur spokesman told The Guardian.
The shortage has been compounded by a
decision by manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline to concentrate on products for
other childhood vaccination programmes. Its typhoid vaccine, Typherix, will not be available until Summer 2014.
Reports also suggest that travel clinics, which charge around 25 per vaccination only have stocks of the oral vaccine Vivotif. Its effectiveness is reduced if a patient is also taking antimalarials or antibiotics.
A Department of Health spokesman,
told Mail Online: 'Typhoid is rare in this country and is usually associated with travel to countries where sanitation is inadequate.
Shortage: Sanofi Pasteur had to recall 88% of its stock of Typhim Vi in October this year
Vaccine is still available and we are working with
manufacturers to help ensure that current supply problems are resolved
as soon as possible.'
Travellers can also help themselves by drinking only bottled water and avoiding raw vegetables and drinks with ice cubes.