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Case of Typhoid Fever Confirmed at Purdue

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A health alert from Purdue University's main campus in West Lafayette -- Purdue is urging diners to watch for symptoms after a case of typhoid fever was confirmed on campus. Local health officials and Purdue are working with the Indiana State Department of Health to investigate the case and assess the risk to the public.  Here is more information from a news release issued by Purdue:
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University is reaching out to anyone who may have eaten food on Jan. 23-25 from three areas in Marriott Hall, after a food handler there was diagnosed with typhoid fever.
Rarely fatal, the disease can be treated with antibiotics. Anyone with symptoms is urged to contact his or her health-care provider or the Purdue Student Health Center. Although the center normally serves Purdue students, under these special circumstances it is offering advice or health care without charge to anyone who ate at the Marriott locations on those days and has symptoms.
The three dining areas involved are Boiler Bistro, the John Purdue Room and the Lavazza coffee shop.
Food prepared in Marriott for Purdue's Ben & Maxine Miller Child Development Laboratory School was not affected since it is made in a different area.
"We want all of our students and other patrons to know that we put their health first," said Richard Ghiselli, head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. "We are informing our students and patrons and are working together with the Indiana State Department of Health.
"We hold our hospitality program to the highest standards of food safety protocols. Hand washing is mandatory; the infected person wore gloves during food preparation and had minimal contact with the food."
The patient, who contracted the disease while traveling internationally, will not return to work until cleared by the state health department, he said.
Sarah Sayger, medical director of the Purdue Student Health Center, says the most significant symptom is a high fever in the 103-105 degree range, often accompanied by stomach pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite. In some cases, a rash of flat, rose-colored spots may appear. Symptoms usually begin within 8-14 days after exposure but could potentially appear for up to 30 days.
People are at risk if they eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by someone with the illness. On average, only three cases are reported annually in Indiana; about 400 were reported in the United States; 75 percent of the individuals infected had traveled internationally.
For more information about typhoid fever, visit http://www.in.gov/isdh/25418.htm
The Purdue Student Health Center can be contacted 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekend at 765-494-1723.
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Here is the news release from the Indiana State Department of Health:
INDIANAPOLIS—State health officials announced today a positive case of typhoid fever in a food handler at Purdue University. Local health officials and Purdue University are working with the Indiana State Department of Health to investigate the case and assess the risk to the public.  
Anyone who ate at the Boiler Bistro, John Purdue Room, or the coffee shop, Lavazza, at Marriott Hall on the Purdue campus from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25, 2013, may be at risk. Health officials advise these individuals to see a healthcare provider right away if they start to experience symptoms such as a high fever (103° to 104° F), weakness, stomach pains, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. In some cases, a rash of flat, rose-colored spots may appear. Symptoms usually begin within 8-14 days after exposure, but could potentially appear for up to 30 days.
“Unfortunately, symptoms of typhoid fever can resemble other illnesses, so for those individuals who may have been exposed, it’s critical to see healthcare provider right away if you begin to experience symptoms,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess II, M.D. “Be sure to tell your physician that you may have been exposed to typhoid fever.”
People are at risk of typhoid fever if they eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by someone who has Salmonella Typhi or if sewage contaminated with the bacteria gets into the water used for drinking or washing food. Typhoid fever is more common in areas where hand washing is less frequent and water can be contaminated with sewage.
The only way to know if an illness is typhoid fever is to have samples of stool or blood tested for the presence of Salmonella Typhi bacteria. If you suspect you have typhoid fever, do not prepare any food or drink for anyone or care for young children or hospitalized patients. 
Typhoid fever is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. In the United States, approximately 400 cases of Typhoid fever occur each year with 75 percent of these acquired while traveling internationally. Typhoid fever is still common in the developing world, where it affects about 21.5 million persons each year. The case being investigated recently traveled internationally and this is where the infection was acquired.
Even if symptoms disappear, people can still carry Salmonella Typhi, and the illness could return or could be passed on to other people. Typhoid fever can be successfully treated with appropriate antibiotics and persons given antibiotics usually begin to feel better within two to three days. Deaths rarely occur; however, persons who do not get treatment may continue to have fever for weeks or months. If left untreated, typhoid fever may be fatal.
For more information about typhoid fever, visit www.in.gov/isdh/25418.htm To visit the Indiana State Department of Health, go to www.StateHealth.in.gov
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