Typhoid Fever Case in Indiana

Purdue University typhoid fever case found in food handler on campus

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A case of typhoid fever has been identified in a food handler at Purdue University on Tuesday. The case was announced by Indiana state officials with a warning regarding others' risk.

The State Department of Health said that anyone who ate at the Boiler Bistro, John Purdue Room or Lavazza coffee shop at Marriott Hall on the Purdue University campus from January 23 to 25 may be at risk for the disease.

Typhoid is caused by a type of salmonella bacteria found in human feces. People who drink water or eat food contaminated with the bacteria can develop the disease, which can be fatal.

Officials stated they believe the food handler got typhoid while overseas. The worker will not return to work until the state health department has cleared them.

"Wash your hands before preparing food."

Food contamination can occur if those shedding the bacteria do not regularly wash their hands while handling the food. Also, water or food can become contaminated with sewage water containing the bacteria.

Symptoms of typhoid fever include a fever as high as 103 to 104 degrees F, weakness, stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea, headache or loss of appetite, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some infected persons will develop a flat rash of red spots that appears within one to four weeks after being exposed. A person is diagnosed with typhoid fever based on a positive blood test.

Typhoid is not very common in the US. Of the approximately 400 people who get typhoid in the US each year, about 75 percent of them contract it overseas. That means only about 100 cases a year originate in the US, though about 21.5 million people outside the US develop typhoid each year.

Most of these cases are in the developing world. Typhoid is uncommon in Canada, western Europe, Australia and Japan.

The best way to avoid typhoid is to avoid risky foods and drinks or to be vaccinated. The typhoid vaccine exists in oral and injection form. Typically, people in the US are recommended to get the vaccine only if they are traveling to other countries where the disease is common.

To avoid typhoid while traveling abroad, you should only drink sealed, bottled water or boil water yourself, and you should peel your own fruits and vegetables and/or boil them before eating them.

You should also only eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked and are still hot and steaming. You should also avoid eating food from street vendors who may not be able to keep the food clean.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 6, 2013
Last Updated:
February 6, 2013