A child care center in Massachusetts has been temporarily closed after a young student's typhoid fever diagnosis. Typhoid fever is actually rare in the United States, but the child evidently traveled overseas prior to the illness.
Child Care Center Scare
A Massachusetts child care center closed on Wednesday after learning of a child's typhoid fever diagnosis the day before. Evidently, the child contracted the disease while traveling overseas, though there is no word on exactly where the child traveled to.
Upon learning of the child's illness, the child care center's officials opted to close their facilities while the staff and children who shared a classroom with the sick child are undergoing testing, and will only reopen once testing has been completed. So far, all of the parents of children who might have been impacted by the exposure have already been contacted by authorities.
"It was very scary, very scary. Then you start Googling what is this, what does it mean. I mean, I have an infant, so it's even more dangerous in that age range," a parent of another child at the child care center told local news.
Typhoid fever is a serious disease that can be contracted through contaminated food and water. Its symptoms include high fever, weakness, stomach pains, loss of appetite, constipation, rashes, and headache. Typhoid fever may cause internal bleeding and even death, though such cases are rare.
It is caused by Salmonella typhi and is often treated using antibiotics. It's worth noting that the infection may be passed from one person to another, and that even if the symptoms are gone, a patient may still be carrying Salmonella typhi. This means that the illness may return, and that Salmonella typhi may still be passed on to other people.
As such, it is important to maintain proper hygiene, take the antibiotics as prescribed, and to ensure that the body is cleared of Salmonella typhi before preparing or serving food for other people.
Typhoid Fever In The United States
While typhoid fever is quite common in other parts of the world, in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and western Europe, it is actually quite rare. In fact, among the 300 people who get typhoid fever in the United States each year, most of them had a recent travel overseas. Worldwide, there are 22 million cases and 200,000 deaths related to typhoid fever each year.
It is for this reason that travelers to south Asia, Latin America, and Africa are urged to take extra precautions such as consulting a health care provider about the typhoid fever vaccine before traveling, though the vaccine is only 50 to 80 percent effective. As such, other measures that travelers can take is to practice proper hygiene, and to make sure to eat only safe food items. These include food and beverages that have been properly and safely prepared and cooked.