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Reiter’s Syndrome

While most people recover successfully from salmonella, a few may develop a chronic condition called Reiter’s syndrome. This syndrome can last for months or years and can lead to arthritis. Its symptoms are painful joints, irritated eyes, and painful urination.

Unless treated properly, Salmonella bacteria can escape from the intestine and spread by blood to other organs, sometimes leading to death.

Typhoid Fever

Salmonella typhi bacteria can cause typhoid fever, a more serious disease. This disease, which can be fatal if untreated, is not common in the United States. Typhoid fever frequently occurs in developing countries, where it affects about 21.5 million persons each year, typically through contaminated water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 400 cases occur each year in the United States, and 75 percent of these are acquired while traveling internationally.

Appropriate antibiotics usually are effective for treating typhoid fever, although the number of cases of antibiotic-resistant S. typhi are increasing in some parts of the world.

Currently, two vaccines are available in the United States that are 50 to 80 percent effective in preventing Salmonella typhi. The Typhoid Vaccine Live Oral Ty21a is given orally in several doses to immunize adults and children older than 6 years of age. The Vi capsular polysaccharide vaccine (or ViCPS) is an injected vaccine used in adults and in children over 2 years of age.

Health experts do not recomment routine vaccination with either vaccine in the United States. Vaccination is recommended for travelers visiting areas where there is a risk of getting of S. typhi infection.

Last Updated November 15, 2011