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Pandemics & Epidemics: A Topic & Resource Guide

Cholera & Typhoid: The Basics

Bacilli of typhoid fever from a culture

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"Typhoid fever is a life-threatening systemic infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (commonly known as Salmonella Typhi). Typhoid is usually spread through the ingestion of contaminated food or water....Typhoid occurs predominantly in association with poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water, in both urban and rural settings. However, urbanization, with associated overcrowded populations and inadequate water and sanitation systems, as well as climate change have the potential to further increase the global burden of typhoid. In addition, increasing antibiotic resistance  is making it easier for typhoid to spread and be treated....Every year, an estimated 11–20 million people get sick from typhoid and between 128 000 and 161 000 people die from it worldwide. Poor communities and vulnerable groups including children are at highest risk...."


"Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Cholera remains a global threat to public health and is an indicator of inequity and lack of social development. Researchers have estimated that every year, there are 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera, and 21 000 to 143 000 deaths worldwide due to the infection.....Cholera is an extremely serious disease that can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea with severe dehydration. It takes between 12 hours and 5 days for a person to show symptoms after consuming contaminated food or water. Cholera affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if untreated....Most people infected with Vibrio cholerae do not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their faeces for 1-10 days after infection. This means the bacteria are shed back into the environment, potentially infecting other people."


Cholera: Histories, Politics, Social, & Cultural

Typhoid: History, Politics, Social and Cultural

Cholera and Typhoid: Epidemological