What is typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium, Salmonella typhi. While the highest risk of acquiring typhoid fever is traveling to South Asia, there is an increased risk of getting the disease in East and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Worldwide, It affects more than 22 million people annually with about 200,000 associated deaths from the disease
What are the symptoms of typhoid fever?
- Sustained fever
- Relative bradycardia (slow heart rate)
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Nonproductive cough
- loss of appetite
- abdominal pain
- diarrhea or constipation
How is typhoid fever spread?
Anyone can get typhoid fever if they drink water or eat food contaminated with the S. Typhi bacterium. You can get typhoid fever if you eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by a person who is shedding S. Typhi in their stool, or if sewage contaminated with S. Typhi bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing food.
Symptoms can occur within three days up to three months after consumption of contaminated food or water, usually in one to three weeks.
How can typhoid fever be prevented?
If you are traveling to an area where typhoid is common you may want to be vaccinated against this type of fever.
The following precautions are recommended:
- Water should be brought to a rolling boil for one minute before drinking it.
- Bottled water may also be used (bottled carbonated water is safer than uncarbonated water).
- Other safe beverages include tea and coffee made with boiled water and bottled beverages with no ice.
- Ask for drinks without ice unless the ice is made from bottled or boiled water.
- Avoid popsicles or flavored ices that may have been made with contaminated water.
- Eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are still hot and steaming.
- Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled.
When you eat raw fruits or vegetables that can be peeled and eaten, then please peel them by yourself
- Wash your hands with soap first
- Do not eat the peelings
- Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors.
It is difficult to keep food clean on the road, and many travelers become ill with food purchased from street vendors.
- A simple rule of thumb is: “Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!”
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