Health officials confirm typhoid fever in Purdue cafeteria worker

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State health officials have confirmed a positive case of typhoid fever at Purdue University.

“The first thing I thought of is, how did someone here at Purdue get typhoid fever?  Where did that come from?,” said student Erica Rowles.

A case has been reported in one worker handling food inside the Boiler Bistro, the John Purdue Room and Lavazza coffee shop.  All three places are under one roof and are run by students studying hospitality and tourism management.

“We stress if all the time,” said Rowles.  “There are signs everywhere saying, ‘Be sure and wash your hands.’  The signs even say how long to wash them, to use soap and water.  That is really important to our industry, and it keeps everybody safe and not sick.”

The person recently traveled internationally and contracted the illness.

Typhoid fever is spread through feces, and someone who did not wash their hands properly before preparing food.  Tom Duszynski with the Indiana State Department of Health said symptoms of typhoid fever are pretty obvious.

“Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.  You get chills and you can get a fever as high as 104 degrees,” said Duszynski.

Duszynski said a case of the illness is found about once a year in Indiana.  It can be fatal in rare cases.  He said the key is getting to the doctor if you think you might have it.

“It could be a very mild illness, or it could be a very severe illness with complications,” said Duszynski.

The food service worker is not on the job, and will not be, until the illness goes away.

Typhoid fever is fatal in a small percentage of cases and is very treatable with antibiotics.  If you develop symptoms, see a doctor right away.

For more information on typhoid fever visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website.

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