Typhus is an infection spread by lice, fleas or mites. It's found in many countries, but is very rare in the UK. It can be serious, but most people make a full recovery if treated quickly.
You can catch typhus if you're bitten by infected lice, mites or fleas. These are often found on small animals like mice, rats, cats and squirrels. People can also carry them on their clothes, skin or hair.
Typhus is mainly a problem in parts of Africa, South America and Asia where living standards and hygiene levels are poor, especially in:
There's no vaccine to prevent typhus, but you can reduce the risk of getting infected.
Symptoms of typhus include:
Check your travel insurance for how to get medical help while you're away, or check the health information and advice for the country you're visiting on GOV.UK.
It's important to get diagnosed early so treatment can be started as soon as possible. If typhus is not treated quickly, it can sometimes be life-threatening.
Antibiotics are used to treat the infection. They're usually started before you get your test result, as this can take up to a week.
Most people start to feel better within 48 hours of starting treatment. It's important to keep taking your antibiotics until they're finished, even if you feel better.
People with severe typhus may need to be treated in hospital.