New Typhoid Vaccine Offers Hope

The World Health Organization has released new recommendations for a typhoid vaccine that could prevent deadly and dangerous typhoid disease. For those unfamiliar with typhoid fever, this condition causes 220,000 deaths each year with most of those deaths being children. New findings on preventing the disease offer hope to people around the world.

What is Typhoid Fever?

This condition is caused by a type of bacteria known as salmonella Typhi. Although anyone can ingest this bacterium, it is most commonly seen in countries that have poor sanitation and limited access to clean water. Sub-Saharan African and south Asia have the highest incidences of typhoid fever.

Symptoms such as prolonged fever, loss of appetite, nausea and headaches are the most common ones when a person has got infected. Statistically, for every 100 cases, one person will have fatal complications and succumb to the disease.

Current Treatments

typhoid feverAlthough there are already two vaccines for typhoid which are available, none of them are licensed to be given to children under the age of two years. Since young children have undeveloped immune systems, this age range is particularly at risk.

Although there are antibiotics which can treat typhoid, this bacterium is gradually becoming more and more resistant to antibiotic medications. Standard treatments for typhoid may not work; besides, in some countries patients may not be able to have access to these medications at all.

New Study

A clinical trial testing out this vaccine was done by the University of Oxford, and recently published in the Lancet medical journal. In the study, the vaccine was given to 112 people who were then injected affected by typhoid fever. The vaccine was up to 87% effective in the subjects.

After studying the evidence for the vaccine, the World Health Organization recommended that the vaccine can be given to children as early as six months old. The committee also recommended that vaccines can be given to older children as it may still have a beneficial effect on children up to the age of 15.

Next Steps

Although the vaccine has already been approved and recommended, there will need to be additional steps taken in order to ensure that children are receiving this vaccine at a young age. Many health organizations around the world will be trying to stock this vaccine and promote vaccination for young children in undeveloped countries of Africa and Asia. Because typhoid is especially dangerous for young children, this new research offers hope for many thousands of kids and their parents around the world.