What is the link between typhoid fever and dirty water?

Share this article with other mums

Keep reading for all the important facts about typhoid fever and how it is linked to dirty water.

What is typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever is a contagious and serious bacterial infection caused by the Salmonella typhi bacterium. If not treated, typhoid can be life threatening.

A less severe form of typhoid can be caused by a related bacteria called Salmonella paratyphi.


The Salmonella typhi bacteria that causes typhoid fever can be found in contaminated water.

Although typhoid is rare in countries with improved sanitation like Singapore, it is still found in countries like Egypt, India, Pakistan, Africa, Mexico and some other South American countries.

In fact, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that an estimated 22 million cases of typhoid fever and 22,000 deaths resulting from typhoid are reported annually. In addition to this, 6 million cases of paratyphoid are reported every year.

How is typhoid transmitted?

Humans are the only transmitters of this disease. Animals are not known to be carriers of typhoid.

The faeces of a person infected with typhoid carry a high concentration of the Salmonella typhi bacteria. Sometimes the urine of an infected person can also carry the bacteria.


Be cautious when travelling to countries listed as high-risk in terms on typhoid.

Typhoid fever is transmitted when people consume food and water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. This is mostly prevalent in countries with poor sanitation and a high level of contaminated drinking water.

When people from developed or industrialised countries travel to high risk countries, they could contract this illness.

Typhoid can also be spread through close contact with an infected person.

Find out about the signs and symptoms of typhoid fever on the next page.

Health Vaccines & Immunizations