Typhoid is considered by many to be a neglected infectious disease. Most of the 17 million cases each year occur in poor communities. While improving water and sanitation in those communities is undoubtedly the way forward in addressing the problem, it is also desirable to protect people through vaccination. Untreated, the death rate for typhoid can be up to 20%.
The Typherix vaccine for typhoid is cheap but there have been doubts as to its effectiveness in children, who are most vulnerable to the infection. Now, however, a team from India’s National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases in Kolkata has achieved encouraging results in a trial involving 37,673 children and adults in a slum district. An effectiveness rate for the vaccine of 61% was reported. It was most effective in children under 5, where the figure was 80%.
The researchers also found that the community as a whole benefited; typhoid rates fell even in people who were not vaccinated.
See a Reuters news story for more information on the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.