Even before typhoid germs were actually discovered, an epidemic of typhoid was “cured” (stopped) in England by removing the handle from a common hand pump that distributed germ-contaminated water to its users.
Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease caused by Salmonella typhi. It was first identified in 1880 by Karl Joseph Eberth, but it was not until 1896 that British bacteriologist Almroth Edward Wright first developed an effective typhoid vaccine.
Before the bacteria was discovered, it was believed to come from “bad air” (“miasmas”) as was malaria in New Orleans and in Southern areas of the U.S. years later.
It is estimated that 21 million contract typhoid each year, but if caught early, it is very treatable with antibiotics. The vaccine is only recommended for those traveling to countries with a high typhoid incidence (it is not 100 percent effective).