Paratyphoid fever

What is paratyphoid fever?

Paratyphoid fever is a serious bacterial infection caused by a type of Salmonella bacteria called Salmonella Paratyphi. Paratyphoid fever is not common in Canada and is mostly linked with travel to countries that do not have adequate sewage and water treatment. 

How is paratyphoid fever spread?

Salmonella Paratyphi is spread from person to person through ingestion of food or water contaminated with feces (stool) or urine from an infected person who may or may not appear ill. People can also become ill when they drink water or eat food that has become contaminated with the bacteria, especially if it was handled by someone infected with paratyphoid fever. People may also become ill if they consume unpasteurized milk, unwashed raw fruits and vegetables, and raw or undercooked shellfish from contaminated water. Domestic animals may also become infected with Salmonella Paratyphi and spread it to humans.

What are the symptoms of paratyphoid fever?

Symptoms usually appear 1 to 10 days after a person becomes infected. Symptoms usually include fever, constipation, headache, lack of appetite, rash on the upper body, and a slow heart rate. A small number of people, including children, may experience diarrhea, however, constipation is more common in adults. Not everyone with paratyphoid fever will have symptoms, but they are still able to spread the disease.

What is the treatment for paratyphoid fever?

Antibiotics are generally recommended by a health care provider. If symptoms are persistent or severe, it is important to seek medical attention.

Are there any restrictions or special considerations for people ill with paratyphoid fever?

Anyone with paratyphoid fever should stay home from work or school until they feel better and no longer have symptoms. Those who prepare or handle food, healthcare workers, childcare workers and those who attend child care must not return to work or child care until advised by Ottawa Public Health.

How can I protect myself and others against paratyphoid fever?

To prevent becoming ill with paratyphoid fever:

  • Use sealed bottled water or treated (chemically disinfected or boiled) water instead of tap water for drinking, brushing teeth, preparing foods, making ice and cooking when travelling to countries where the water supply is uncertain
  • Do not eat raw shellfish; ensure all shellfish is steamed or boiled for at least 10 minutes before eating
  • Avoid eating or drinking unpasteurized (raw) milk or milk products
  • Always wash hands well with soap and water for at least 15 seconds before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet, after changing diapers and anytime hands may be dirty
  • Avoid contact with feces (stool) during sex
  • If you have diarrhea, avoid preparing food or drinks  
What is Ottawa Public Health's role?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) must be notified by health care providers and laboratories about persons who have or may have paratyphoid fever. OPH provides education to such persons and their close contacts and follows up with their health care providers as needed. OPH will also advise each person and close contacts about return to work and child care.

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