NORTH QUINCY (CBS) – Some parents are concerned after a child at a daycare and preschool in North Quincy has been diagnosed with typhoid fever.
“My primary concern is the safety of my child,” said one mother whose infant attends Bright Horizons daycare, as teachers and children are being tested for possible exposure to the disease.
Ann Scales, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health, on Thursday confirmed one case of typhoid fever in a child at Bright Horizons in North Quincy.
“The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working with Bright Horizons and the Quincy Public Health Department to prevent the spread of the disease,” Scales said.
Bright Horizons spokesperson Bridget Perry said center officials were told that the child had traveled abroad recently.
A letter to parents from the state public health department stated: “A toddler in your child’s class has been diagnosed with typhoid fever, a diarrheal illness caused by bacteria called Salmonella Typhi.”
The letter also informed parents that, in order to remain in the daycare, their children must submit a stool specimen to public health officials by Monday, May 14, even if they are not feeling ill, “to make sure they are not carrying the germ that causes typhoid fever.”
“Alternatively, you may bring your child to their pediatrician to coordinate stool collection and testing,” the letter stated.
WBZ-TV’s Dr. Mallika Marshall said typhoid fever is exceptionally rare in the United States. There are only about 300 cases in the U.S. every year, and they typically comprise travelers.
RELATED: What Is Typhoid Fever?
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of typhoid fever include lasting high fevers, weakness, stomach pains, headache, and loss of appetite. Some patients have constipation, and some have a rash.
Scales said Bright Horizons has closed its center at One Enterprise Drive in North Quincy while health officials are investigating.
Perry, the Bright Horizons spokesperson, said the center was closed Wednesday and Thursday at the recommendations of public health officials.
One recommendation is to have teachers and students who were in the same classroom tested, Perry said.
“We could be open if we had additional staffing but closed because teachers are being tested and testing takes several days,” Perry said. “We were told that the child traveled abroad recently.”
Perry said there is a possibility that the center may open with substitutes because testing takes several days, but that she is still working to confirm.
She said Bright Horizons is cleaning the center, even though that was not part of the recommendations it received.
In a statement, the state Department of Early Education and Care said it received notification on May 8 from Bright Horizons of a case of typhoid fever in a child at their Quincy program.
“EEC is working with Bright Horizons and the Department of Public Health to ensure the health and safety of the children in the program in accordance with state requirements. The program is currently closed,” the statement said.