Kathmandu, Apr. 6: The government is launching a nationwide vaccination campaign to reduce the burden of typhoid fever among the children from April 8 to May 1. Around seven million children aged between 15 months and 15 years will be administered the vaccine against typhoid for the first time in Nepal.
As the concerns are increasing about drug-resistant typhoid, health experts worry about ineffectiveness of antibiotics and strictly suggest for the administration of vaccine against it. They have suggested for vaccination against typhoid which can help curb the disease and reduce transmission.
The government is administering Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) which is 85 per cent effective and provides long-lasting protection as compared to other available vaccines, said Dr. Sagar Dahal, chief at Child Health and Immunisation Programme.
"Endemic typhoid is affecting the nation and its burden is heavily borne by children younger than 15 years of age. So, we are administering vaccines among children between the age of 15 months and 15 years," added Dr. Dahal. According to the recent data from a large Phase III study in Nepal, TCV is safe and 79 per cent effective in preventing typhoid disease.
“A single dose of TCV is harmless, immunogenic, and effective and suitable for children of six months of age and older,” said Dr. Dahal. As a reaction to vaccination, pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the injection, fever, and headache, and general discomfort may occur, informed Dr. Dahal. "Typhoid is a disease related to development and the vaccine can serve as a bridge as countries improve on development indicators,” said Dr. Binod Bura, Technical officer at the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The administration of the vaccine will reduce the burden of typhoid in high-risk populations, added Dr. Bura. Typhoid infection is caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi, spread through fecal contamination of water or food causing high fever and if untreated can lead to serious complications. According to the health experts, access to clean drinking water, adequate sanitation and good hygiene are essential to control typhoid fever.
Symptoms include prolonged fever, fatigue, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, and constipation or diarrhoea. Some patients may have a rash. Severe cases may lead to serious complications or even death, according to the WHO.
According to the data of the last five years, around 450,000 people are infected with typhoid. As per the Global Burden of Disease Analysis 2019, there are 82,449 patients of typhoid. Among them, 60 per cent are below 15 years of age.
In Nepal, typhoid has an infection rate of 1,062 per 100,000 people, while children under the age of 15 have an infection rate of 10,960 per 100,000. As per the data, there are 21.6 million cases of typhoid fever and 216,000 deaths each year, predominantly among children of school age or younger, with 90 per cent of deaths occurring in Asia.