Information and updates about Typhoid in the MidCentral District Health Board region.
Typhoid is easily preventable. It can affect both children and adults.
General information about Typhoid:
What to do if you think you have Typhoid
Anyone who thinks they may have typhoid (see symptoms below) should contact your GP (by phone first) or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for more advice.
What is Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is a disease caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi. In New Zealand there are very few cases of typhoid fever. The majority of cases are infected while travelling overseas.
How do you get Typhoid Fever?
By eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with faeces or urine from a person who has the illness or who may be a carrier of the bacteria. Untreated water supplies, or shellfish gathered from areas where water is contaminated are also potential sources of infection.
Typhoid infection usually begins with a fever occurring up to 60 days after infection. If the infection gets into the bloodstream it can cause an illness with fever, headache and possibly a rash. The fever may last a week or more. Gastro-intestinal symptoms may not occur until 2-3 weeks into the illness and include abdominal pain (20-40%), constipation (38%), diarrhoea (10%).
How is Typhoid Fever diagnosed?
The best way to diagnose typhoid fever is to take a blood test. The bacteria can be grown from the blood in the early stages of the illness. Bacteria may continue to be found in bowel motions for weeks after the initial illness. A faeces test may be useful even in those with no diarrhoea.
How is Typhoid Fever treated?
Hospital admission is common. Antibiotics are recommended for patients who are very unwell, to treat a fever or persistent diarrhoea and may be used for those who are employed on high risk occupations such as food handling, early childhood services or health care, or children attending day care. Relapse after treatment does occur from time to time. If this occurs the patient should see a GP.
How can Typhoid Fever be prevented?
• Wash and dry hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing nappies. Hands should be washed for 20 seconds and dried for a further 20 seconds using a clean cloth or disposable towel.
• Soiled clothing and linen should be washed with hot soapy water separately from that of other family members. Items such as face cloths and towels should be kept for personal use.
• A person with typhoid infection should avoid preparing food for others in the family until they are no longer infectious. In households where a person is recovering from typhoid, toilet seats, flush handles, wash taps and toilet door handles should be disinfected daily using a hypochlorite based solution. Ideally the solution should be in contact with the surface of the object for at least ½ an hour.
• Patients who work as food handlers, in childcare or healthcare or who are children, may be required to stay at home until they have been cleared by Public Health, of carrying Salmonella typhi.
Recent Typhoid Media Releases and News
Important Typhoid Information
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To request a different format or printed version, please contact the MidCentral District Health Board Communications Unit.