Typhoid is a terrible disease that is still prevalent in countries such as India, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Portugal, Spain and Morocco. Just a few weeks ago, a new outbreak was reported on the island of Fiji, a popular tourist destination. Because the occurrence of typhoid fever is still common, it may be useful to have some information about what typhoid fever is and how you can avoid it.
Typhoid Fever in Fiji
It is a very alarming situation that typhoid fever is spreading so rapidly on the island of Fiji. Travel medicine experts have warned that it is important travelers are aware of the situation. In 2010, over 55 people contracted typhoid fever in just one week.
What Is Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is a life threatening condition. Also known as enteric fever, it is caused by the salmonella typhi bacteria.
Typhoid Fever Causes
Salmonelly typhi can only stay alive in humans. If a human is infected, they carry the organism in their intestinal tract, as well as in their blood stream. They then shed it in their stools (faeces). The causes of typhoid fever are generally found if you eat or drink anything that was touched by someone who is shedding the bacteria. Also, if you drink water that has been contaminated by sewage water, you are at increased risk. Usually, infection occurs due to contaminated food, drinking water and milk.
Where Is Typhoid Fever Found?
Typhoid fever can be found anywhere in the world. It is very rare, however, to find it in the industrialized parts of our planet. The most common locations are third world countries and countries with poor sanitation.
How to Avoid Typhoid Fever
Avoiding typhoid fever should be very easy if you follow two simple prevention rules:
1. Ensure you are vaccinated
2. Avoid any food or drink that has the potential to be contaminated
These two rules will also help you avoid illnesses such as hep A, cholera, diarrhea and dysentery. There are a few guidelines to help you avoid the disease as well:
• Drinking water should be bottled, or boiled for at least one hour if drank from the tap
• Never use ice, unless you know the ice is made with bottled water
• Only eat thoroughly cooked food
• Do not eat raw, unpeeled vegetables
• Wash your hands before you cook your own food
• Do not eat any food sold by street vendors
Getting the typhoid fever vaccine is always a good idea. In fact, all travelers over the age of two are recommended to get it at least two weeks before they travel. The vaccination can be taken orally, and can also be provided as a vaccination.
Typhoid Fever Symptoms and Signs
If you have typhoid fever, you will usually have a very high fever that doesn’t go away. General feelings of weakness are also common, as are stomach pains, loss of appetite, severe headaches, muscle pain, general malaise and a dry cough. Some people also develop a flat rash with spots in a rose color. You must have your blood and/or stools checked to confirm whether it is definitely typhoid.
What to Do if You Think You Have Typhoid
If you suspect you have contracted typhoid fever, seek medical attention straight away. If the illness is confirmed, typhoid fever treatment usually involves antibiotics through tablets or injections. You will usually feel better within some 72 hours and it is unlikely that death will follow. However, typhoid fever facts tell us that those who do not get treated and carry the disease for numerous weeks or even months have a 20% chance of succumbing to the illness. It is also possible that you continue to carry the bacteria even if your symptoms disappear. Not only can this mean the disease will come back, but you also risk infecting others. This is why you must continue to take the antibiotics for the entire course and continue to have good hygiene habits. Afterwards, make sure you have a new blood and/or stool sample check done to confirm the bacteria has been removed.