NY Travel Clinic

TYPHOID FEVER OUTBREAK IN UGANDA

Uganda health authorities have alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) of an outbreak of typhoid fever that began in Kampala.  Close to 2000 suspected cases have reported as of March 5, 2015.

The disease is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi, and contaminated water and juices have been confirmed to be the primary sources of the recent infections.  Males aged 20 to 39 years old are the most affected by the outbreak.  Food vendors, cooks, casual laborers are most affected, but the outbreak also affected the business sector.

Typhoid fever is transmitted via food and water that’s contaminated with the feces of infected people.  Symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, and rose spots on the chest can develop from 1 to 3 weeks after being exposed.  The disease can also cause bradycardia, and enlarged spleen and liver.

Although the disease is treatable with antibiotics, if you travel to places with typhoid outbreaks, a vaccine is advisable before you go.  Speak to your doctor several weeks before you travel for the best way to administer a typhoid vaccine.  If you travel to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, you could be at risk of being infected with typhoid.

You should still try to protect yourself against typhoid at destination, because the vaccine is not completely effective.  Drink carbonated bottle water, and avoid ice cubes.  Eat fully cooked foods, and especially avoid lettuce.  Avoid fruits and veggies you can’t peel, and don’t buy food from street vendors.  Wash your hands as often as you can.

If you were vaccinated a while ago, you could need a booster vaccination, so it’s important to check with your doctor. If you recently travelled and suspect you have typhoid based on the above symptoms, visit your doctor immediately.