Paratyphoid fever – also known as enteric fever – is a bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body. It is relatively rare in New Zealand. Most cases seen here are in people returning from overseas. People with severe cases of paratyphoid may have to go to hospital to be treated.
Paratyphoid is not as serious as typhoid, and is caused by a different bacteria. Common symptoms of paratyphoid fever include chills (feeling cold and shivery), stomach pain and headache.
Paratyphoid is very easy to pass on to others through faeces (poo).
If you are concerned about paratyphoid fever call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see your doctor or practice nurse.
Paratyphoid fever is caught by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with faeces from a person who has the illness, or who may be a paratyphoid carrier.
Sources in some developing countries can include water and shellfish contaminated with sewage, as well as contaminated raw fish, fruit and vegetables.
Turtles and tropical fish kept at home may also carry the bacteria.
If you have paratyphoid, excellent hand hygiene is very important. Wash and dry your hands carefully with soap and water after using the toilet, and do not prepare or serve food for other people. This will lower the chance that you will pass the infection on.
If you work at a job where you handle food, or care for small children, you may not be able to work until it is known that you no longer carry any paratyphoid bacteria.
There is no paratyphoid vaccine.
Common symptoms of paratyphoid fever include:
The symptoms usually start one-to-three weeks after you have caught paratyphoid.
Paratyphoid is usually milder than typhoid fever, is over more quickly, and has fewer complications. However, serious cases may require hospitalisation and be a longer illness.
Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or see your doctor or practice nurse if you are concerned about paratyphoid fever. If it is diagnosed and treated early, the infection is likely to be mild, and can be treated at home with antibiotic tablets. More serious cases may need hospital treatment.
Paratyphoid fever is a notifiable disease. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. ARPHS is responsible for investigating the source of the illness and preventing its spread. Once we are notified that someone has paratyphoid, we visit them, talk to them about how they may have got paratyphoid, provide advice on preventing spread of the disease, trace anyone they have been in contact with and arrange for clearance faeces specimens.
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Last updated 13.9.2018