What is typhoid
Typhoid fever is a potentially life-threatening illness that
is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi (S.
typhi). Persons with typhoid fever carry the bacteria in
their bloodstream and intestinal tract and can spread the infection
directly to other people by contaminating food or water.
Anyone can get typhoid fever if they drink water or eat food
contaminated with the S. typhi bacteria. Travelers
visiting developing countries are at greatest risk for getting
typhoid fever. Typhoid fever is still common in the developing
world, where it affects about 12.5 million persons each year.
Only about 400 cases occur each year in the United States.
How does typhoid fever spread?
You can get typhoid fever by eating or drinking contaminated
food or water. Food or water can be contaminated by a food handler
with S. typhi, or may be contaminated if sewage accidentally
gets into the food or water. Some infected persons may not show
any symptoms of typhoid fever but can shed the S. typhi bacteria in their feces for many years. These persons are called
typhoid fever "carriers". S. typhi is only found in
are the signs and symptoms of typhoid fever?
If you have typhoid fever you may have the following symptoms:
after exposure do symptoms appear?
Symptoms usually occur within 1-2 weeks after exposure to the
bacteria, but can occur from 3 days - 3 months after exposure.
How is typhoid
Only your doctor can tell if you have typhoid fever. A blood
or stool sample is needed to diagnose typhoid fever. The samples
are examined for S. typhi bacteria.
How is typhoid fever treated?
Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics. A person will usually
recover in 2-3 days with prompt antibiotic treatment. People
that do not get prompt medical treatment may continue to have
a fever for weeks or months, and as many as 20% may die from
complications of the infection.
If you are
being treated for typhoid fever, it is important to do the following:
Take the prescribed antibiotics for as long as the doctor
has asked you to take them.
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water after using
not prepare or serve food to other people.
your doctor collect follow-up stool samples to ensure that
no S. typhi bacteria remain in your body.
typhoid fever be prevented?
If you travel to an area where the disease is common, use the
following steps to protect yourself:
Get vaccinated against typhoid fever. Both injectable and
oral vaccines are available. Visit a doctor or travel clinic
to discuss your vaccination options. Vaccines are not 100%
effective, so it is important to take the additional measures
listed to prevent typhoid fever.
Use careful selection of food and drink while you are in a
developing country. This will also help protect you from other
illnesses such as cholera, dysentery and hepatitis A.
Only use clean water. Buy it bottled or make sure it has been
brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute before you
drink it. Bottled carbonated water is safer than uncarbonated
Ask for drinks without ice unless the ice is made from bottled
or boiled water.
Only eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked.
Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled.
When you eat raw fruits or vegetables that can be peeled,
wash your hands with soap, then peel them yourself. Do not
eat the peelings.
Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors. Many travelers
get sick from food bought from street vendors.
Even if your symptoms go away without treatment, you may still
be carrying the S. typhi bacteria, and your illness
could return and be passed to other people.
If you work at a job where you handle food or care for small
children, you should not go back to work until a doctor has
determined that you no longer carry any S.typhi bacteria.
Even if you are vaccinated, you should carefully select your
food and drink, especially when visiting areas where typhoid
fever is common.
Can I Get More Information?
Your local health department listed in your telephone directory.
Utah Department of Health, Office of Epidemiology (801) 538-6191
or Immunization Program (801) 538-9450.
Division of Quarantine, National Center for Infectious Diseases,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information
on typhoid fever and other diseases for travelers at: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm.
UTAH DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
OFFICE OF EPIDEMIOLOGY
Call your local health department or
1-888-EPI-UTAH to report outbreaks of disease
Site Updated 1/3/2005 DS