Typhoid fever warning issued for Norstrom Cafe customers

May 3, 2013 5:43:58 PM PDT
A Bay Area warning is going out about typhoid fever. The San Francisco Health Department is warning anyone who has eaten at the Nordstrom Cafe in the Stonestown Galleria that you may have been exposed to the disease.

Officials say that most importantly they know of no person that has become sick with typhoid fever after eating at the cafe. They say an employee who works at the restaurant contracted typhoid while traveling overseas. The trouble began when the person came back to work and began handling food at the cafe here while suffering symptoms of the disease.

The Nordstrom Cafe is on the first floor of the store at the Stonestown Galleria. There was a pretty long line Friday afternoon. It's a popular place to eat at the mall.

Now the health department wants to find anyone who ate here over the last two weeks in April.

"If they ate at the Stonestown Nordstrom Cafe on the dates of April 16, 17, 18, 20, 27, and they start developing symptoms of illness, particularly gastrointestinal illness or high fever and rash, they should speak with their health care provider," said Dr. Susan Philip with the SF Health Department.

She notes that the risk of getting the disease is not very high.

"It is not highly transmissible but it can be transmitted through food that's been touched by someone whose had an infection if it's been contaminated," Dr. Philip said. "So because of that, we're letting the public know."

The risk of getting seriously sick is pretty low, though typhoid fever does kill a couple of hundred thousand people a year in developing countries.

"But the majority of people do not progress to very serious illness," Dr. Philip said. "Although in some cases people can become very sick without treatment and potentially die."

San Carlos resident Mary Kealy eats at the Nordstrom Cafe quite often. But is not at all concerned by the warnings.

"I feel great," she said. "Why wouldn't I feel great?"

Nordstrom says it's reaching out to customers by going through credit card records to find them and offer free testing at a couple of local clinics.

Microbiology student Amy Johnson says she was a customer during the late April time frame.

"I'm feeling fine," the Sa Francisco resident said. "But I had no idea that that had happened. So, that's weird."

The health department is giving high marks to Nordstrom for its cooperation in trying to find customers who'd eaten at the cafe. That in contrast to the marketing manager of the mall who actually threw us out, saying she was concerned that reports would scare away business.

Nordstrom is offering those who ate at the restaurant free testing at two clinics in San Francisco.

Franciscan Treatment Room
1199 Bush Street

Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation
Dr. Meenakshi Jain, MD
595 Buckingham Way

CDC information on typhoid fever

The Centers for Disease Control says patients with typhoid fever can have a fever as high as 104 degrees.

They may also feel weak, have stomach pains, low appetite, and sometimes might have a rash.

It's most common in Americans who have recently traveled to developing countries.

The CDC has these tips to help you avoid typhoid fever. Regarding food -- boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.

Boil any water to a rolling boil for one minute before you drink it, or drink bottled water.

They note that eating thoroughly cooked food that is still hot and steaming is safer.

And when it comes to raw fruits or vegetables peel them yourself and do not eat the peels.


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