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Hygiene helps you to prevent Typhoid Fever

What is typhoid fever?

It is an illness caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi and is contracted by drinking water or eating food contaminated by Salmonella. There are about 107 different strains of the bacteria.

What are the symptoms of typhoid fever?

  • Continuous Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Nausea and / or anorexia;
  • Constipation or diarrhoea;
  • Hoarse cough.

Three simple rules fro preventing dysentery?

  • Cook your food.
  • Boil or add bleach to your drinking water.
  • Wash your hands.

Food Preparation Tips

Are you protected from Typhoid?  Do you prepare food safely?

  • Cooking kills Typhoid- thoroughly cook all meats, fish and vegetables. Eat them while they are hot;
  • Washing protects you from Typhoid - wash your hands before preparing or serving food;
  • Wash your dishes and utensils with soap and water Wash your cutting board especially well with soap and water;
  • Peeling protects you from Typhoid-eat only fruits that have been freshly peeled, such as oranges and bananas.

Keep fruits and vegetables clean, cook it, peel it or leave it!

Are you protected from Typhoid?

Is your drinking water boiled or treated?
Even if it looks clean, water can and may contain Typhoid bacteria.  Water for drinking can be made safe in two ways:-

  • Boil it to kill the Typhoid bacteria
  • Add Bleach to kill Typhoid bacteria

To make a simple chlorine solution: mix a teaspoon of bleach to 25 litres of water

Is your drinking water stored safely?

The quantity for a bleaching powder that contains 30% concentration by weights of available chlorine.
This quantity to be recommended must be adapted for the bleach available on the local market.



  • Clean water can become contaminated again if it is not stored safely.
  • Store drinking water in a clean container with a small opening or a cover. Use it withing 4 hours.
  • Pour from the water container - do not dip a cup into the container

Keep and store drinking water clean and safe

Safety Tips

The germs that cause Typhoid are invisible.  They can be carried on your hands without your knowing it.

Always wash your hands:

  • After you use the toilet or latrine;
  • After washing your children;
  • Before you prepare or serve food;
  • Before you eat or feed your children.

What is the best way to wash your hands?

  • Always use soap;
  • Use plenty of clean water;
  • Wash your parts of your hands front, back, between the fingers and the nails.

Keep yourself clean - wash your hands

Typhoid bacteria live in faeces.  Even a person who is healthy might have Typhoid in faeces.

  • Always use a toilet or latrine. If you do not have one - build one
  • Keep the toilet or latrine clean
  • Dispose of babies' faeces in the toilet or latrine (or bury them)
  • Wash your hands with soap and clean water after using the toilet or latrine

Keep yourself clean - use a toilet or latrine

Environmental Health Practitioners are required to investigate all Typhoid cases:

  • By taking a sample of suspected sources of water, food and blood to the Laboratory for analysis
  • Tracing contacts by taking urine and stool to the Laboratory for analysis
  • Motivate communities to use toilets;
  • Health education of communities;
  • Organise temporary water purification and sanitation facilities until longer term measures can be implemented;
  • Ensure that you take the necessary precautionary measures against shellfish taken from sewage contaminated beds, vegetables fertilised by night soil and eaten raw and contaminated milk and milk products. Remember polluted water is the most common source of Typhoid.

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Copyright KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, 2001

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