SALT LAKE CITY — A migrant boy who had been detained at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection camp came to Utah with typhoid fever last month, health officials confirmed Tuesday.
On May 22, the Utah Department of Health was notified the boy in Salt Lake County was taken to a hospital with a severe case of typhoid soon after arriving in Utah, said state epidemiologist Angela Dunn.
Health care providers are required to report typhoid to the state health department, which worked with Salt Lake County to notify anyone who had come in contact with the boy and to learn if any Utah residents might have been exposed, Dunn said.
"We quickly realized that was a very limited number of people because (he) was hospitalized very quickly upon arriving to Utah," Dunn explained.
The health department worked with the boy's family to make sure they understood signs and symptoms of typhoid, she said. No one else as of Tuesday was reported to have typhoid fever.
Typhoid fever is caused by salmonella and can be life-threatening, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be passed person to person by drinking a beverage or eating food that has been touched by someone with the fever. Symptoms include a sustained fever, weakness, stomach pain and headache. Doctors treat it with antibiotics.
After receiving treatment in an intensive care unit, the boy was released after about a week.
"Thankfully he received excellent care and recovered fully," Dunn said. She believes he was then able to return to his family.
There is no additional threat of the disease in Utah, she said, as it's past its incubation period in the boy.
No other illnesses have been reported in Utah from people who have come from migrant camps, according to Dunn.
Federal detention centers are "out of the authority" of state health departments. "We do rely on our federal partners to do their due diligence in identifying other people who may have become sick and making sure that spread of the disease is limited in the detention centers," Dunn said.
In the boy's case, it was under U.S. Customs and Border Protection to "control the disease spread," she said.
When Dunn contacted the agency, officials "quickly reached out to me to learn the patient's name and date of birth so they could track him in the system," Dunn said. "But beyond that, they didn't engage us."25 comments on this story
The reported treatment of migrants detained at border detention centers has continually come under fire recently.
Last week, a group of attorneys warned that kids are taking care of kids, and there's inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at a border patrol station in Texas, according to the Associated Press. Data obtained by the AP showed that there were three infants in the station, all with their teen mothers, other toddlers and dozens of children under age 12.
Fifteen had the flu, and 10 more were quarantined, the AP said.