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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 September 22; 335(7620): 587.
PMCID: PMC1989015
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Vaccines against typhoid fever deserve a higher priority

Typhoid fever still kills more than half a million people every year worldwide and causes serious illness in many more. But it remains a low profile disease, largely ignored by the international health community, say commentators from the International Vaccine Institute in Korea. Recent studies have documented high incidences of typhoid fever in children living in urban slums in Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam. Cheap antibiotics such as ampicillin that used to control the infection are becoming increasingly ineffective because of resistance, and vaccines are beginning to look like a better and more sustainable option, they write. Two safe and effective vaccines are already available, and the World Health Organization recommends giving one or the other to all children over 2 years living in areas where Salmonella typhi is a threat to public health. China and Vietnam have made a start, but there's a danger that others will fall behind unless typhoid fever is given the priority it deserves. Vaccination is feasible, acceptable, and affordable. A subunit vaccine that gives 70% protection for at least three years costs no more than $0.50 (£0.25; €0.36) a dose.


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