Health officials yesterday confirmed a case of typhoid fever at a Quincy day care center – a particularly dangerous disease for children that can lead to alarming high fever and sometimes death.
"It is a serious infectious disease that can be deadly if not treated properly," said Dr. Mary Montgomery, infectious disease doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "How many infectious diseases can be worse in young children than in adults."
The case was discovered at Bright Horizons in North Quincy by a child who recently traveled, according to health officials. Other children and teachers were tested at the Quincy Department of Health yesterday.
Typhoid fever can cause up to 1
High-Risk Areas are Southeast Asia, Africa and South America
"The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working with Bright Horizons and the Quincy Public Health Department to prevent the spread of the disease," said Ann Scales, spokeswoman for the US Department of Health ,
Massachusetts sees typhoid cases every year, she said, with a total of 20 from last year.
To fight the disease, classmates and teachers would have to take the stool or urine of the infected child.
Local School and Health Officials say they work to keep cases away from school or day care while they are contagious.
"We usually keep the case away from school or day care while we're contagious, and we're testing other students and staff that may have been exposed by the chair culture," Scales said. "Employees can be excluded until their tests are negative, and we manage these situations in collaboration with local health authorities and school / day care administration."
The day care center was closed yesterday while parents and teachers held a meeting, officials said.
"We only test immediate classmates and teachers, and until that's over, there is no statement," Quincy Public Health Nurse Karen McKim said.
She said typhoid is a type of salmonella, but "symptom-wise it can be a lot worse."  Boston Public Schools advise students and co-workers to regularly wash their hands while coughing, covering their mouths and not eating any food to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
"It is not common for typhus to infect infected water or food in the United States, but travelers to foreign countries may be infected on their travels," BPS said in a statement. "Therefore, BPS recommends that students feel vaccinated against typhoid fever when traveling to less developed countries, as provided by the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention Actions)."