Typhoid cases double over past five years

Many of the cases are from Australians of Indian descent returning from visiting family and friends on the subcontinent, says Dr Anita Heywood, an infectious disease expert and lecturer at the University of NSW (UNSW).

She says pre-travel immunisation helps to not only prevent diseases in individuals but also protects the general population once the traveller returns.

Typhoid is a potentially dangerous bacterial disease contracted from contaminated food or water.

The number of cases reported to the Department of Health has doubled in the past five years.

Before 2007, there were 50 to 70 cases a year. In 2008, 100 were reported. There were 135 in 2011, 123 in 2012 and 101 cases so far in 2013. There were 32 in January alone.

"Immunity to typhoid wanes and migrants to Australia who return home may not be aware of the risk to themselves and their children," Dr Heywood has told a stakeholder workshop on immunisation for refugees,