Global Health Press
Expert says typhoid vaccination is crucial

Expert says typhoid vaccination is crucial

Typhoid vaccinations are a vital step in Thailand’s efforts to curb outbreaks of the disease that claims more than 200,000 deaths a year in developing countries, a health expert says.

Apart from providing sanitary and clean water to the public, vaccination is an important tool recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to prevent typhoid outbreak, said Christopher Nelson, director of the Coalition against Typhoid secretariat.

Mr Nelson is in Bangkok attended the four-day International Congress on Infectious Diseases.

About 2,500 experts from 100 countries were participating in the congress to discuss the latest advances in the prevention, control and treatment of infectious diseases, including typhoid.

Mr Nelson said the cost of typhoid treatment had been increasing partly due to high rate of typhoid drug resistance.

“Vaccination is the correct answer to prevent outbreaks, which can start with two-year-old children with a protection length of three years,” the expert said on Thursday.

The WHO in 2009 recommended the prioritisation of typhoid vaccines for immediate implementation, but many countries in Asia have yet to recommend or introduce typhoid vaccines.

The WHO also expected typhoid to affect about 21 million people around the world and cause more than 200,000 deaths annually, predominantly among preschool and school-age children in developing countries of Asia and Africa.

About 90% of typhoid deaths occur in Asia, the WHO reported.

Thailand introduced a typhoid vaccination programme 20 years ago, which has helped curb infections.

However, due to the rising number of alien workers in the country, there is a chance it might spread more widely, Mr Nelson said.

He added that he admired Thailand as a good model for controlling outbreaks. He said Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are all planning to follow Thailand’s example by promoting the use of the vaccine.

Typhoid is just one kind of waterborne disease. Outbreaks could happen during flood disasters.

However, there were no reports of typhoid outbreaks in Thailand after last year’s flood because the country had a good surveillance system and prevented typhoid by providing clean water to flood-hit communities.

Source: Bangkok Post