Paratyphoid fever

Paratyphoid fever – also known as enteric fever – is a bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body. It is relatively rare in New Zealand. Most cases seen here are in people returning from overseas. People with severe cases of paratyphoid may have to go to hospital to be treated.

Paratyphoid is not as serious as typhoid, and is caused by a different bacteria. Common symptoms of paratyphoid fever include chills (feeling cold and shivery), stomach pain and headache.

Paratyphoid is very easy to pass on to others through contact with the poo (faeces) of someone who has the infection.

If you are concerned about paratyphoid fever call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see your doctor or practice nurse.

Paratyphoid fever is caught by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with faeces from a person who has the illness, or who may be a paratyphoid 'carrier' (someone who is still infectious but does not have symptoms).

Sources in some developing countries can include:

  • water and shellfish contaminated with sewage
  • contaminated raw fish, fruit and vegetables
  • turtles and tropical fish kept at home


Common symptoms of paratyphoid fever include:

  • a high temperature
  • chills
  • stomach pain
  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation in adults (hard poo)
  • a rash of small pink spots.

The symptoms usually start one to three weeks after you have caught paratyphoid.

Paratyphoid is usually milder than typhoid fever, is over more quickly, and has fewer complications. However, serious cases may require hospitalisation and be a longer illness.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see your doctor or practice nurse if you are concerned about paratyphoid fever. If it is diagnosed and treated early, the infection is likely to be mild, and can be treated at home with antibiotic tablets. More serious cases may need hospital treatment.

If you have paratyphoid it is important to:

  • wash and dry your hands carefully with soap and water after using the toilet
  • avoid preparing or serving food for other people

This will lower the chance that you will pass the infection on.

If you work at a job where you handle food or care for small children, you may need to stay home from work until you've had a test and it has come back negative. 

There isn't a vaccine available to protect against paratyphoid fever.

Paratyphoid fever is a notifiable disease. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. National Public Health Service - Northern Region is responsible for investigating the source of the illness and preventing its spread. Once we are notified that someone has paratyphoid, we visit them, talk to them about how they may have got paratyphoid, provide advice on preventing spread of the disease, trace anyone they have been in contact with and arrange for testing of their faeces (poo) to check when they are no longer infectious.


There are specific requirements for notifiable diseases in the Auckland region.

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Last updated 22.11.2022

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116
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