Zac Efron reportedly 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 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. 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.”
“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.”
For now, Efron appears to be stable.
Update: The actor posted to Instagram Sunday thanking fans for their concern and confirming that he has since recovered from his illness. “Very thankful to everyone who has reached out,” he wrote. “I did get sick in Papua New Guinea but I bounced back quick and finished an amazing 3 weeks in P.N.G. I’m home for the holidays with my friends and family. Thanks for all the love and concern, see you in 2020!”