Typhoid fever is a systemic disease caused by Salmonella typhi, a bacterium most common in countries where sanitation is poor. An average individual in developing nations will likely get infected with the disease at one point or the other or knows someone who has been infected. Typhoid bacilli are shed in stool of asymptomatic carriers or in urine and stool of people with active disease. Typhoid can only be eradicated if adequate sanitary measures are put in place. However, you can reduce your risk by following the tips below.
- Check your water source: typhi is more frequently transmitted through water. If you discover you tested positive more often than not, then it is wise you examine your water source. S. typhi May spread to your water supply through stool or urine of carriers. You can contact your pharmacist for chemicals to disinfect your water available in your locality.
Only drink bottled water from a bottle that was properly sealed, or water that’s been recently boiled (even when brushing your teeth).
- Proper and frequent handwashing:
The advantages of handwashing go beyond typhoid infestations. If you can cultivate the habit of washing your hand with soap and water frequently, you will do yourself a lot of good.
Most importantly when using a toilet, avoid touching your mouth before washing your hands. Always wash your hands before preparing or eating food.
- Ensure your food is properly cooked.
Some seafood and shellfish may be from a water source contaminated by infected faeces or urine. Avoid raw or undercooked shellfish or seafood from street traders, unless it is has been recently prepared and is served hot on clean plate.
Food served in hotels or restaurants may not always be safe as there is possibility of contamination during or after preparation. Ensure to eat at places that have a reputation for serving safe food.
- Be careful with the salads/fruits:
Avoid uncooked fruits and vegetables, unless you’ve washed them in safe water or peeled them yourself. Eating raw vegetables that have been fertilised with human waste can increase your typhoid risk.
- Unpasteurised milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products are possible sources of Salmonella typhi. Don’t have ice in your drinks (e.g champagne) unless you are sure of the safety of the water used.
- Beware of fresh or cooked food that has been left exposed to flies, such as in parties. Flies can transfer the typhoid causing organism from infected faeces to such food.
- Having oral or anal sex with a person who’s a carrier of Salmonella typhi bacteria can put you at risk. You are advised to practice safe sex always.
- Above all, set it as a standard to only eat freshly prepared food that is thoroughly cooked and served steaming hot.
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The Merck Manual. Nineteenth Edition
www.nhs.uk accessed 10/06/16