Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Oh, it's nothing, just a little typhoid

With a trip to China coming up, various experts recommended I get vaccinated for hepatitis A, a tetanus booster, and most interesting, typhoid fever. That last vaccine comes in a couple of forms, either injectable or oral. Due to the number of victims and relief workers connected with December's tsunami, we've found a shortage of typhoid vaccine in the U.S., and I've ended up taking the oral form. The relevant detail about that is that unlike the injectable vaccine, this is a live product -- genetically defused, sort of, so I don't get The Full Experience, but nevertheless, a low-grade typhoid infection.

The side effects can be "mildly" unpleasant, but it is typhoid, after all. The package insert says

The overall symptom rates from both studies when vaccinated with capsules were combined and shown to be: abdominal pain (6.4%), nausea (5.8%), headache (4.8%), fever (3.3%), diarrhea (2.9%), vomiting (1.5%) and skin rash (1.0%).

Well, call me statistically significant. All I can say is that when one quarter dose produces a reaction within the hour (the oral vaccine is four capsules taken over six days), I'm sure glad I'll have some immunity to the real thing when I get there. Meanwhile I'll just have to deal with "mild flu-like symptoms" for a few days.

Don't tell my office mates.

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