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Typhoid fever

Last update: 2022-06-07

Key facts

Transmission

  • Unwashed hands (after defecating or using a toilet)
  • Food or beverages contaminated by dirty hands or flies
  • Water contaminated with human waste (stools)

Symptoms

  • Tiredness (fatigue), headache, stomach pain and fever.
  • Possible diarrhoea in young children, or constipation in older children and adults.
  • In severe cases, confusion, shock, internal bleeding and death.

Prevention

  • Safe, clean drinking water (including a clean, covered water container in the household)
  • Use of appropriate sanitation facilities (sound, clean latrines)
  • Handwashing with soap (especially after using the toilet or cleaning a baby)
  • Good food hygiene (thoroughly cooked food, covered food, clean utensils, etc.)
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life
  • Routine vaccination
  • Social mobilization and behaviour change communication

Vulnerable people

  • Children who are malnourished
  • People, especially children, with weakened immune systems (for example from HIV infection)
  • People living in areas that have poor water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and services

If an epidemic occurs

  • Detect and refer cases to health facilities
  • Promote safe, clean drinking water (including a clean, covered water container in the household)
  • Promote use of appropriate sanitation facilities (sound, clean latrines)
  • Promote handwashing with soap (especially after using the toilet or cleaning a baby)
  • Promote good food hygiene (thoroughly cooked food, covered food, clean utensils, etc.)
  • Support mass vaccination campaigns
  • Increase social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Encourage breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding when an infant is sick

Community-based assessment - questions

  • Make a map of the community and mark the information you gather on the map. Record other details.
  • When did people start to fall sick with typhoid fever?
  • How many people have fallen sick with typhoid fever? Where?
  • How many people have died from typhoid fever? Where?
  • How many people live in the affected community or area?
  • How many children under five years of age live in the area?
  • Who and where are the vulnerable people?
  • Are children in the affected community generally well nourished?
  • Do people always have enough food?
  • How common is breastfeeding?
  • Where are the local health facilities and services? (Include traditional and community carers.)
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about caring for and feeding sick people in the community? When babies and infants are sick, do women continue to breastfeed them?
  • Where do people obtain their drinking water? Is the source safe? Do people treat their
    water?
  • What sanitation facilities and communal latrines are available? Do people use them?
  • What handwashing facilities are available? Do they have soap?
  • Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
  • Is a vaccination programme planned or in place?
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about hygiene, sanitation and water?
  • Which sources or channels of information do people use most?
  • Are rumours or is misinformation about typhoid fever spreading in the community?