Diners urged to watch for symptoms, seek aid, after case of typhoid fever found

February 5, 2013  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University is reaching out to anyone who may have eaten food on Jan. 23-25 from three areas in Marriott Hall, after a food handler there was diagnosed with typhoid fever.

Rarely fatal, the disease can be treated with antibiotics. Anyone with symptoms is urged to contact his or her health-care provider or the Purdue Student Health Center. Although the center normally serves Purdue students, under these special circumstances it is offering advice or health care without charge to anyone who ate at the Marriott locations on those days and has symptoms.

The three dining areas involved are Boiler Bistro, the John Purdue Room and the Lavazza coffee shop.

Food prepared in Marriott for Purdue's Ben & Maxine Miller Child Development Laboratory School was not affected since it is made in a different area.

"We want all of our students and other patrons to know that we put their health first," said Richard Ghiselli, head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. "We are informing our students and patrons and are working together with the Indiana State Department of Health.

"We hold our hospitality program to the highest standards of food safety protocols. Hand washing is mandatory; the infected person wore gloves during food preparation and had minimal contact with the food."

The patient, who contracted the disease while traveling internationally, will not return to work until cleared by the state health department, he said.

Sarah Sayger, medical director of the Purdue Student Health Center, says the most significant symptom is a high fever in the 103-105 degree range, often accompanied by stomach pain, 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.

People are at risk if they eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by someone with the illness. On average, only three cases are reported annually in Indiana; about 400 were reported in the United States; 75 percent of the individuals infected had traveled internationally.

For more information about typhoid fever, visit http://www.in.gov/isdh/25418.htm

The Purdue Student Health Center can be contacted 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekend at 765-494-1723.

Contact: Jeanne Norberg, 765-491-1460, jnorberg@purdue.edu

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