Symptoms of typhoid fever 

The symptoms of typhoid fever usually develop one or two weeks after a person becomes infected with the Salmonella typhi bacteria.

With treatment, the symptoms of typhoid fever should quickly improve within three to five days.

If typhoid fever is not treated, the condition usually gets worse over a few weeks and there's a significant risk that life-threatening complications of typhoid fever may develop. Without treatment, it can take weeks – or even months – to fully recover, and symptoms can return.

Common symptoms

Common symptoms of typhoid fever can include:

  • a high temperature, which can reach up to 39-40°C (103-104°F)
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • stomach pain
  • feeling sick
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation or diarrhoea (adults tend to get constipation and children tend to get diarrhoea)
  • a rash made up of small pink spots
  • exhaustion
  • confusion, such as not knowing where you are or what is going on around you

Seeking medical advice

You should see your GP as soon as possible if you have symptoms of typhoid fever (even if you have been vaccinated against it), particularly if you have recently returned from travelling abroad.

It is unlikely that your symptoms are caused by typhoid fever, but it's best to get them checked out in case you need treatment.

If you become ill while travelling abroad, you can get help by:

  • contacting a representative of the travel company you booked with
  • contacting your travel insurer
  • contacting the British consulate in the area you are visiting or, if you are feeling very ill, the local emergency services

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides travel advice by country, and their website has the contact details of all the British consulates and embassies in foreign countries.

Before you travel, it is a good idea to make a list of relevant contact details and telephone numbers in case of an emergency.

Page last reviewed: 25/09/2013

Next review due: 25/09/2015