Travellers have been warned that they may not be fully protected against typhoid, a potentially fatal disease, and have been urged to contact their GPs if they have recently returned from abroad and are feeling unwell.

French manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur has recalled 16 batches of its vaccine Typhim Vi because of concerns about its effectiveness.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that all vaccines distributed from 7 January last year are to be returned.

Some patients who have had the vaccine since then may not be fully protected against the disease, the MHRA said. Typhim Vi represents 88 per cent of the UK market of typhoid fever vaccination. In England, more than half a million receive the jab every year.

But the MHRA said the vaccine is still available and the Department of Health said it is working with manufacturers to help resolve supply problems.

Ian Holloway, from the MHRA, said: "There are no concerns over the safety of this vaccine but the recall has taken place because the vaccine may not be as effective as it should be.

"Anyone who has been to a typhoid region of the world and has a fever, abdominal pain and vomiting should contact a healthcare professional. They can also give them information and advice about minimising the risk of getting typhoid."

Typhoid fever is very contagious and can be fatal unless treated with antibiotics. Patients usually present with a fever, headache, stomach pains, loss of appetite, nausea and, in some cases, a rash.