A new vaccine that could prevent up to nine-in-10 cases of typhoid fever has been recommended by the World Health Organization.
Experts say it could have a “huge impact” on the 22 million cases, and 220,000 deaths, from typhoid each year.
Crucially it works in children, who are at high-risk of the infection, unlike other typhoid vaccines.
It is hoped the vaccine could eventually help countries eliminate typhoid.
Typhoid fever is caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria and patients have:
- prolonged fever
- loss of appetite
- in one-in-100 cases it causes fatal complications
The bacteria are highly contagious and spread through contaminated food or water.
The infection is most common in countries with poor sanitation and a lack of clean water, particularly in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Two typhoid vaccines already approved to help reduce the number of cases, but none are licensed for children under the age of two.
The decision to recommend the new conjugate typhoid vaccine was made by the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (Sage).
Prof Alejandro Cravioto, the chairman of Sage, said: “For the first time I think we do have a very effective vaccine.”
Sage recommended the vaccine should be given to children aged six-months old and said catch-up campaigns focusing on children up to 15 years old should also take place.
Prof Cravioto said the vaccine was vital as the world was “reaching the limit” of current treatments due to the “crazy amount” of antibiotic resistance the typhoid bacterium had acquired.
Source Lancet / BBC Health News