September 8, 2021 | Written By: Zai Muhammad
Typhoid infection is also known as demam kepialu by Malaysians and can be deadly to anyone that has it. Various measures have been taken by the Malaysian government and the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) to prevent this infection and enforce regulations on food handling so that typhoid fever does not spread in the country. However, this infection still occurs due to the attitude of some irresponsible parties in complying with the guidelines of food preparation or other food-based products. Typhoid fever is rare in the developed countries because they have been successful in fighting the disease and efforts to prevent the disease continue to be successful in those countries. However, this infection continues to be a burden among developing countries.
What Is Typhoid Disease
Typhoid fever is an infection caused by a type of bacteria known as Salmonella typhi. These bacteria are usually spread by those who are infected or those who have recovered from symptoms but still have bacteria in the body called carriers. Patients with typhoid fever or carriers of Salmonella typhi bacteria transmit these bacteria to other healthy individuals through a few ways:
Typhoid fever patients have a high amount of Salmonella typhi bacteria, especially in their feces. Poor sanitation facilities can cause contamination of water resources with these bacteria.
Contaminated water sources when used for food preparation or as a source of drinking water cause these bacteria to spread easily to others.
The habit of not washing hands after going to the toilet also makes it easier for these bacteria to be transferred to one place and another. People involved in the food industry such as food vendors can transfer these bacteria into the food during the preparation process and infect those who eat or drink the food and beverages provided.
What is the difference between typhoid fever patients and Salmonella typhi bacterial carriers? Typhoid fever patients are those who have symptoms of infection and this infection is still active. Bacteria carriers are those who no longer have symptoms and are mistaken for 'cured'. A person can be a carrier if they do not get the proper treatment to kill the bacteria in their body. Inadequate treatment or inadequate antibiotics result in a small number of ‘Salmonella typhi’ bacteria hiding in the carrier body.
Typhoid vaccine or injection is a type of immunization to prevent typhoid fever. The vaccine is available in government and private clinics or hospitals in Malaysia. It is aimed to stimulate the body’s immune response against Salmonella typhi and produce antibodies to fight future infection. The use of this vaccine has been proven to prevent the incidence of typhoid fever in many countries including Malaysia. Think you know about vaccines? Take this quiz to find out!
Who Need to Take The Typhoid Injections?
People who work or deal with the food industry such as food vendors, chefs, food & beverages factory workers are required to take the injection. They are also required to attend food handling training and practice all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in their workplace. The objective of the food handling training is one of the initiatives made by the government in order to reduce and prevent any kinds of infections that can be spread through food and drinks. The vaccine should be taken by food handlers before they begin handling food.
You must be wondering about the price of a shot of injection of typhoid vaccine. The price of the typhoid vaccine is affordable and you can find the list of clinics that offer the injection online. In some companies, the employer pays for the injection. Individuals who have taken the injection will receive a certificate of typhoid injection as a proof that he or she has been immunized and is safe to work. The authorities also have the right to request and see the certificate to ensure that the food provided at the premises is safe. This vaccine should be taken once every three years as long as they are working in the food industry.
Is Typhoid Injection Safe?
This injection is relatively safe. However, certain individuals or isolated cases may have side effects from the injection. These are some of the typhoid injection side effects :
Inflammation reactions at the injection site (redness, swelling, and pain)
Shortness of breath
Pain in the joints
Weak or fatigue
If you are experiencing any side effects after receiving the typhoid vaccine, you are advised to see a doctor. If the side effects are serious, further treatment will be given. Symptoms of typhoid fever are as follows:
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of appetite
Loss of weight
Diarrhea or constipation
Rash on body
Typhoid fever can cause complications such as the followings if left untreated:
Inflammation of the pancreas
Infection of the kidneys
Preventing Typhoid Fever
Below are the list of precautions that need to be implemented by food premise operators as outlined by the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Malaysia:
Getting a typhoid injection
Attend a food handling course
Keeping the restaurants or food premises clean
Wear head coverings, aprons, and covered shoes for staff that are responsible for handling food
Ensuring only fresh raw materials are used
Practicing the correct techniques to defrost the poultries
Providing food and beverages using treated water source
Cook food with perfect to boiling point
Raw materials should be separated from cooked food ingredients
Using a covered container to store cooked food
Using clean cooking utensils
Always wash the hands thoroughly before preparing food or after going to the toilet
Keep the toilet clean
Water to be used to prepare beverages should be boiled first or use treated water
In conclusion, the practice of healthy living and hygiene in daily diet is important to prevent this infection from spreading. Choose clean food premises that follow the guidelines outlined by the Ministry of Health Malaysia if you want to eat outside. Make sure that you drink from a clean water source. Regular hand washing and hand hygiene are important in preventing typhoid infections and other infections in general. Avoid eating food that has been spoiled, exposed, contaminated, or raw. Avoid preparing food if you have been infected and wash your hands often as well as taking antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor. Failure to comply with the treatment and advice may result in the transmission of infection to other individuals. Therefore it is important to take care of our own health and avoid contacting others to prevent the infection from spreading. Consult a doctor to know more about typhoid vaccine!
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