Typhoid fever is considered rare in industrialized countries such as the United States, with possible symptoms including high fever, abdominal pain, and headaches.
A Quincy, Massachusetts day care center was closed for two days earlier this week after one of the children developed a case of typhoid fever.
According to a report from Fox News, the Bright Horizons day care center was closed on Wednesday and Thursday, with health officials confirming on Thursday that the unnamed child did indeed contract the rare illness. The report added that it is unlikely that the child, who had recently traveled to an unspecified location, got sick at the daycare center. As of Thursday, officials were testing other Bright Horizons children and teachers at the Quincy Department of Health.
In a statement quoted by the Boston Herald, Brigham and Women’s Hospital infectious disease physician Dr. Mary Montgomery warned that typhoid fever is a “serious infectious” disease that could potentially be “deadly” if not immediately and properly treated.
“Like many infectious diseases, it can be worse in young children compared to adults.”
A separate statement from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health assured the public that it is working closely with the Bright Horizons daycare center and the Quincy Public Health Department, in hopes of preventing the disease from spreading. Quincy Public Health chose not to issue any further comment until testing on “immediate” classmates and teachers of the infected child has been completed.
The Mayo Clinic describes typhoid fever as an illness caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria that is rare in industrialized countries, but more common in emerging nations, including those in Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa. The disease is usually characterized by symptoms such as headaches, abdominal pain, general weakness, constipation or diarrhea, and a fever that could start out low, but progressively become higher, with temperatures that could reach as high as 104.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
If left untreated, the illness often causes sufferers to become delirious, or enter a motionless, fatigued state referred to as the “typhoid state.” Typhoid fever could also result in “life-threatening” complications if not treated, and in some cases, its symptoms could return up to two weeks after the fever subsides.
As further noted by the Boston Herald, typhoid fever can be spread from one person to another through the stool or urine of an infected individual. Boston Public Schools advised its teachers and students to regularly wash their hands, cover their mouths while coughing, and avoid sharing food with typhoid patients to prevent its spread. The district’s statement also echoed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s general advisory on typhoid fever and encouraged students to get vaccines before they travel to emerging countries.
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