Following a case of typhoid fever reported in Collin County last week, the Grayson County Health Department provided advice on how to prevent the spread of the disease.
Grayson County Health Department Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Randy Brooks five things to know about the virus.
1. It’s salmonella based.
The bacteria is actually referred to as Salmonella typhi and are spread through feces.
The best practice for fighting it off is to wash hands thoroughly after using the bathroom. Washing hands before preparing or eating food is also essential, Brooks said.
2. There is a vaccine.
The disease is actually rare in the United States with roughly 350 or so reported cases a year. Most cases of the bacterial infection are from under developed countries, Brooks said.
Those interested in travelling to those countries can opt for a vaccine. It comes in pill and shot form. The pill is a live specimen of the bug.
The Center of Disease Control website has up-to-date information on which countries where the vaccine is advised before travelling.
It is important to be careful not to drink unprocessed water when travelling abroad, Brooks said.
3. It can be hard to detect.
The symptoms are similar to most other stomach bugs. They often include headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and upset stomach.
Brooks said it becomes more serious when the diarrhea leads to dehydration. If a person has blood in their stool or other worsening symptoms they should seek medical attention.
It can take up to 60 days to manifest and the only sure way to verify a person is infected is to tested for it.
4. It can be prevented.
Hand washing is the best practice for preventing the spread of the disease. If soap and water are not readily available, alcohol-based sanitizers are sufficient to kill the bacteria.
5. Staying hydrated is key.
The disease is relatively mild, Brooks said. However, if left untreated or if symptoms worsen, the disease can become more aggressive.
The best way to beat it is drinking a lot of fluid.
If medical treatment is required the patient should seek antibiotics from their health care provider. The disease can be hard to detect so it is advised to be cautious and avoid risky situations. He also advised to avoid heavy foods that would put additional stress on the gastro system.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on typhoid fever at https://www.cdc.gov/typhoid-fever/sources.html.”