Purdue food handler tests positive for typhoid fever

Boiler Bistro

On the Purdue University campus, the focus is on Marriott Hall and three dining areas inside after a food service worker came down with typhoid fever after an international trip.

They're concerned about three days last month, January 23 through 25. If you ate at the John Purdue Room, The Boiler Bistro or Lavazza coffee shop, you could be at risk.

High fevers and other symptoms could appear eight days after exposure to typhoid, but experts warn it's possible symptoms may not be obvious for a month.

The symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses: high fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The bacteria can pass from a food or beverage handler to a customer and that's the concern, but Purdue also says food workers are trained to wear gloves and use proper hygiene methods in that food court

Purdue says no one with typhoid has reported to the student health center, which is on the lookout for such cases.

Students are looking out too. "This is the first I've heard of that," one student told us. Others will be checking their schedules to see if they may have eaten at one of the three locations on those three days last month.

"I may have gotten a coffee or something like that at the café," another student told us. "It is a little bit of a concern."

"It's kind of shocking," student Stephan Carnera said. "It's gross. People should be aware of it.

CDC: Typhoid fever information

AP story:

Purdue University and State Health officials are warning students after a food handler on campus tested positive for typhoid fever.

They say anyone who ate at the Boiler Bistro, John Purdue Room, or the coffee shop, Lavazza, at Marriott Hall on the Purdue campus from January 23 to January 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.

Dr. William VanNess II, Indiana State Health Commissioner, said symptoms of typhoid fever can resemble other illnesses, so it's important to seek care right away if you develop symptoms and let your healthcare provider know you may have been exposed.

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, people who do not get treatment may continue to have fever for weeks or months. If left untreated, typhoid fever may be fatal.