Zac Efron Contracted a Life-threatening Infection in Papua New Guinea

Zac Efron contracted typhoid, or a serious bacterial infection, while shooting his ominously named show, Killing Zac Efron. Photo: DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Fe

Zac Efron contracted a serious infection while filming his ominously named show, Killing Zac Efron, in Papua New Guinea last week. According to Australia’s Sunday Telegraph, a medevac crew airlifted the actor, 32, to Brisbane, then rushed him to St. Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Spring Hill, a nearby suburb.

Although the outlet’s sources did not confirm the precise cause of Efron’s malady, he reportedly came down with typhoid or a “similar bacterial infection” in the middle of an “off-grid” shoot. A doctor with the team believed to have evacuated Efron declined to discuss the nature of his illness, but did say that they had “retrieved a U.S. citizen in his 30s from PNG to Brisbane for medical attention,” and that the patient was hospitalized in “stable condition.”

Efron’s doctors reportedly allowed him to return to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, after he spent multiple days undergoing treatment. Typhoid is life-threatening, has a seven-to-ten-day recovery period, and is transmitted through water or food contaminated by the feces of an infected person. It typically announces itself with a sustained, high-grade fever and requires antibiotics. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends a vaccine for people traveling to areas where typhoid is a known risk.

On Sunday evening, Efron confirmed on his social media channels that he did fall ill, but that he had “bounced back quick and finished an amazing 3 weeks in P.N.G.”

“I’m home for the holidays with my friends and family,” he wrote. “Thanks for all the love and concern, see you in 2020!”

As for the project that drew the Simone Biles superfan to Papua New Guinea in the first place: Killing Zac Efron involves dropping the Baywatch actor onto a “remote” island for 21 days, “with nothing but basic gear, a guide partner, and a will to survive,” per E! News.

“I tend to thrive under extreme circumstances and seek out opportunities that challenge me on every level,” Efron said in a statement announcing the show in November. “I am excited to explore any uncharted territory and discover what unexpected adventure awaits.”

This post has been updated.

Zac Efron Was Hospitalized With a Deadly Infection