Limerick public health experts confirm typhoid fever cases

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Dr Mai Mannix, Director Public Health Mid West

LIMERICK-based public Health experts have confirmed that a number of people were recently hospitalised in the region for potentially deadly typhoid fever.

The Department of Public Health Mid-West advised that travel vaccines were necessary “to prevent serious illness caused by gastrointestinal diseases, including typhoid fever, hepatitis A and cholera, when travelling abroad this summer, ”.

Officials said that this followed “investigations into a small number of typhoid fever cases in the Mid-West linked to travel overseas, some of whom were hospitalised, in recent weeks”.

Typhoid is a contagious infection caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi and vaccination is recommended for those travelling to parts of the world where the condition is common.

“High risk regions include the Indian subcontinent, Africa, south and southeast Asia and South America. Infection can occur when people visit high risk regions, particularly where there is poor sanitation resulting in food and water contamination.”

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“A person infected with typhoid fever can potentially infect others in their household and workplace. The bacteria will be in the stool (poo) after the person goes to the toilet, if they do not wash their hands properly with soap and hot water, they can contaminate food and surfaces they touch”.

“Symptoms of typhoid fever usually develop ten to 20 days after infection and includes fever, headache, nausea and loss of appetite. There may be cough and constipation or diarrhoea, and some people develop a rash.

“Symptoms may be mild, and with treatment, should improve quickly. If typhoid fever is not treated, symptoms usually get worse over the course of a number of weeks, and there is a risk of life threatening complications.”

“Vaccines against typhoid fever can be arranged by visiting your doctor or travel clinic.”

Public Health Mid-West Area Director, Dr Mai Mannix said: “For many people and families, it will be their first overseas holiday since the Covid pandemic.

“My advice is to avail of any necessary travel vaccines as part of your preparations for the summer break. Even a mild infection of a disease like typhoid fever can be uncomfortable and spoil a holiday experience,” she explained.

More information at www.hpsc.ie/a-z/gastroenteric/typhoid/factsheet/