October 2012

What is Paratyphoid?

Paratyphoid is an illness caused by the Salmonella paratyphi bacteria. Although Paratyphoid occurs worldwide, it is more common in countries with poor sanitation and contaminated water supplies.

How is Paratyphoid Spread?

The bacteria are found in human feces and urine. It is spread from eating contaminated food or water. It can also spread from person to person by putting anything in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person who has Salmonella paratyphi infection. It is also known as the “fecal-oral” route.

What Are the Symptoms of Paratyphoid?

Symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Constipation or severe diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Dull headache
  • Fever
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rash
  • Stomach pain
  • Tiredness

Symptoms usually start 1-10 days after you become infected.  However, not everyone infected will have symptoms.

When and for How Long Is a Person Able to Spread Paratyphoid?

It is common for a person to be contagious for 1-2 weeks.

How Is Paratyphoid Diagnosed?

You can be tested for Paratyphoid through a blood, stool, or urine sample.

How Is Paratyphoid Treated?

Antibiotics are usually required to treat Paratyphoid.

Can You Get Paratyphoid More than Once?

Yes, if it is not properly treated. Sometimes, even if symptoms disappear, you may still be carrying the Paratyphi bacteria and pass the disease to others. You can also become re-infected with the same or a different strain of the bacteria meaning you are not immune once infected.

What Are the Possible Complications of Paratyphoid?

If the illness is left untreated, it can develop into serious intestinal and other complications.

Who Is at Risk for Getting Paratyphoid?

Those travelling to countries where Paratyphoid is endemic are at the greatest risk of contracting the illness.

How Can the Spread of Paratyphoid Be Prevented?

  • Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet, changing a diaper, helping someone who has diarrhea, helping children use the toilet, and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Monitor hand washing of children to ensure proper hand washing methods are used.
  • Be “travel smart”. When travelling to an area where Paratyphoid is endemic:
    • wash and cook all foods thoroughly
    • do not eat raw fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled
    • do not eat raw or uncooked fish or shellfish
    • do not consume unpasteurized dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream)
    • ensure the water supply is safe before drinking it and use caution when consuming ice
    • do not swim in water that may be contaminated with human sewage
  • Protect yourself. Avoid unprotected sexual practices that may permit fecal-oral transmission.

Can I Get Vaccinated for Paratyphoid?

No, currently there are no vaccines to prevent against Paratyphoid.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Paratyphoid?

  • See a health care provider.
  • Keep your hands clean. Washing hands with soap and water using the toilet, diapering, and before handling or eating food. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • If you are sick with diarrhea, avoid preparing food for others.
  • Do not attend school or work until symptom-free for 24 hours.
  • Food handlers, childcare workers and attendees under 5 years of age, and health care workers should not go to work/childcare/school until they are sure they do not have Paratyphoid (determined by their health care provider or public health).

More Information

Call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 (TTY at 416-392-0658) or speak to your health care provider.