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How is typhoid spread?

Page last updated 22 May 2020

Typhoid is spread by sewage contamination of food or water, or through person-to-person contact. People who are infected with typhoid pass the Salmonella typhi bacteria in their faeces and occasionally in their urine. You can get typhoid if you eat food or drink a beverage that has been touched by a person who is infected with the typhoid bacteria and has not washed their hands properly after going to the bathroom. Contamination can also occur when changing the nappy of a child with the infection.

Water sources that are contaminated with infected faeces are another common way typhoid is transmitted.

About 1 in 20 people who recover from typhoid become ‘carriers’. Typhoid carriers have no symptoms of the illness, but still excrete the Salmonella typhi bacteria in their faeces and urine. This means they can go on to infect others for an extended period of time after having the  illness. It is estimated that between 1% and 4% of treated patients still excrete Salmonella typhi bacteria in their stool 12 months or more after they were ill with typhoid. 


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Sources & Citations

2. Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Typhoid and paratyphoid. Available at: (accessed 6 May 2020).

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Typhoid Fever and Paratyphoid Fever. Questions and Answers. Available at: (accessed 6 May 2020). 

6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Yellow Book 2020: Health Information for International Travel. New York: Oxford University Press; 2017.

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0143(1)a - Date of preparation May 2020