Typhoid fever is common in developing countries with poor water and sanitation facilities.
Globally, the disease affects millions of people annually, mostly in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South America, killing millions.
The disease is endemic -common- in Nigeria with huge socio-economic burden due to work and school absenteeism and also cost of medicare.
Typhoid fever spreads through contaminated food and water. The agent is passed out in the stool of an infected person, it may also be present in his urine, spite or vomit.
Food can be contaminated by flies which can carry the agent from the stool of an infected person or by the hands of infected person while preparing food if not well washed after using the toilet.
Water can be contaminated by stool of an infected person if the source of drinking water is exposed where open defecation is practiced in the absence of toilets.
Un-boiled milk if contaminated is also a means of spread.
Personal hygiene is key in the prevention of typhoid fever. Wash your hands with water and soap after using the toilet, after attending to a person suffering from the disease or after handling materials used by him.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing or handling food.
2.Boil all drinking water.
Boil your water before drinking even if the water appears very clean. Store the boiled water in a clean container and it must be consumed within 24 hours. Dedicate a cup with a handle for taking water from the container.
Cook food thoroughly, keep in a freezer or fridge if you have one and there is regular power, otherwise keep it in a safe place and covered. Re-heat it just before eating.
Wash fruits with clean water and soap followed by salt water.
Wash vegetables thoroughly with water before cooking.
Avoid contact between raw food and cooked food.
5.Be aware of the disease.
Health awareness is also key in disease prevention. Be aware of typhoid fever, how it spreads, what causes it, what would make you suspect you have it and how you can avoid it.
Three vaccines are available to fight typhoid fever. One is taken by mouth while the other two are by injection. Each, when fully taken, gives protection for about 3-5 years.
However, typhoid vaccine is not taken routinely in Nigeria but the affluent Nigerian travelling to a location where safe water may be scarce or where there are no toilet facilities may request for it.