What is typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is a serious, sometimes life-threatening disease caused by one strain of bacteria called Salmonella typhi. This bacterium thrives in all countries where there is poor sanitation.
What are the symptoms of typhoid fever?
Early symptoms include chills, fever, headache, weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, body aches, cough, and constipation. Children are more likely to suffer from diarrhea instead of constipation. A rash may appear on the chest and abdomen.
Diagnosis is by a lab test of blood or stool (sometimes both).
How is it spread?
Infection occurs after consuming contaminated food or water, or contact with an infected person.
Who is at risk?
The risk is greatest in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, but it is also a concern in parts of Eastern Europe.
How can I protect myself?
- Wash your hands. Washing with soap and water after using the toilet and before preparing meals is the best defense.
- Thoroughly wash all raw vegetables and salads, and eat only foods that are well cooked.
- Drink bottled, boiled, or treated water.
- There are several different vaccines available, both injectable and oral.
Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington Health Unit, Typhoid Fever, July 2006.