Avoid typhoid; get vaccinated
DR. HIRAMALINI SESHADRI
WITH the monsoons come all water and food-borne diseases. One of the most dangerous is typhoid. Caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, typhoid puts you out of action for at least two weeks and fatality rates are as high as 16 per cent, if untreated.
With antibiotics, fatality is almost one per cent even in this day and age.
What is worse, the clever bug has mutated to form strains that are resistant to antibiotics. In fact, drug-resistant-typhoid is a major challenge today.
Further, unlike diseases like chicken pox, which come only once, typhoid can plague you time and again. The need of the hour, therefore, is an effective and safe typhoid vaccine.
The good news is that there is a single-shot safe vaccine made from the polysaccharide capsule of the bacterium, called "typhim-vi" which protects for two to three years once taken.
Within a month of the shot, over 98 per cent develop protective immunity. All those over the age of three can have the shot. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and those being treated for immune system related problems are advised to check with their physicians before getting the vaccination.
With increasing propensity to eat out, it is advisable for all Indians to take the typhoid vaccine, says Dr.R am Gopalakrishnan, Senior Specialist in Infectious Diseases,
At present there is no Government programme to provide free typhoid immunisation. The vaccine is available on prescription and costs around Rs.300. In this context, it is heart-warming that in Chennai, a corporate giant has come forward making the vaccine available to the general public at a subsidised cost of Rs.100 only.
The benefit of not catching typhoid far outweighs the inconvenience of an injection. So, if you haven't had your typhoid shot, see your family doctor.
The writer is a Senior Consultant in Holistic Internal Medicine and Rheumatology. E-mail her at email@example.com
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