Kern public health officials say county is ready for potential typhoid outbreak

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It’s a rare but potentially life-threatening infection, but Kern County health officials say the county is prepared to deal with a potential typhoid outbreak.

County Public Health Services Director Matt Constantine says the county is ready.

In a presentation to supervisors Tuesday, Constantine also said there are no known cases of typhoid in Kern County.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, typhoid, or typhoid fever, is a bacterial infection that can lead to high fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. It can be fatal.

The infection is caused by a specific type of salmonella bacteria, often passed on through contaminated food and drinking water, and it is more prevalent in places where handwashing is less frequent.

That is the cause of worry that the infection could spread in the county’s growing homeless population.

Chairman of the Board of Supervisors David Couch requested that Constantine make Tuesday’s presentation after reports that at least one Los Angeles police officer contracted the disease while working at the department’s central station in Downtown L.A.

It’s worth noting, the salmonella that causes typhoid fever is not commonly found in the U.S.

In fact, most cases of typhoid fever are contracted when traveling abroad.

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