San Francisco public health officials are warning anyone who might have eaten at Nordstrom Cafe last month that they could have come in contact with typhoid fever.
In other words, if you have been feeling sick, accompanied by fever, weakness, stomach pains, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, then you should see a doctor ASAP.
According to the Health Department, a worker at the cafe, located in Stonestown Galleria, was diagnosed with typhoid fever that he may have contracted during a trip outside the United States.
Anyone who ate at the Nordstrom Cafe on April 16, 17, 18, 20, or 27 may be at risk. Symptoms, which can include a rash of flat, rose-colored spots, usually begin within eight to 14 days after exposure, but could potentially appear for up to 30 days.
"Unfortunately, symptoms of typhoid fever can resemble other illnesses," said Tomás J. Aragón, the city's health officer. "There is testing and effective treatment available. If you suspect you have typhoid fever, do not prepare food or drink for anyone and do not care for young children, hospitalized patients, or persons with weakened immune systems."
Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi, and although death is uncommon, it can be severe and life-threatening. In the United States, as many as 400 cases of typhoid fever are documented each year, and most of those are acquired during international travel. Typhoid fever is still common in the developing world where it affects about 22 million people and is responsible for 200,000 deaths annually.
You are at risk of typhoid fever if you have eaten food or consumed beverages that have been handled by someone who has typhoid fever, or if sewage contaminated with the bacteria gets into the water supply used for drinking or food preparation (yuck!).
The only way to know for sure if you have typhoid fever is by testing samples of stool, blood, and urine for the presence of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi. The good news is that typhoid fever can be successfully treated with appropriate antibiotics, and you will generally start to feel better within two or three days after taking medicine.
If left untreated, you will continue to have a fever and feel like crap for weeks -- or months. Even if your symptoms go away, you can still pass typhoid bacteria to others. So don't handle food, drinks, children, or anyone with weakened immune systems until you get tested again to verify you are in the clear.
Nordstrom at Stonestown Galleria is cooperating with the Department of Public Health in the investigation to make sure this is cleared up and nobody else gets sick.