A typhoid fever outbreak was reported in the Western Cape and North West provinces, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). The disease was first noted when a total of 64 cases were reported in the Western Cape in three separate outbreaks in the Cape Town Metro, the Cape Winelands, and Garden Route. There were also 18 cases reported in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda district in the North West.
But what is Thypoid Fever, and how does one become infected? Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Thypoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that affects a variety of organs in the body. The infection can cause serious complications if left untreated. Thypoid Fever is caused by Salmonella typhi, which is related to the bacteria that cause salmonella food poisoning.
Most often, the disease is spread through contaminated drinking water or food. Upon ingesting bacteria, they multiply and enter the bloodstream and gastrointestinal (intestinal) tract.
A person may also become ill with typhoid fever if they eat food or drink water that is contaminated with infected faeces or pee.
What Are The Symptoms Of Thypoid Fever?
The primary symptoms of Thypoid Fever are:
- A constant high temperature that may increase every day
- Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- Aches and pains
Infection may lead to a loss of appetite, feeling sick, diarrhoea, and tummy aches. Some patients may develop a rash.
A person with typhoid fever who doesn’t get treated will continue to get worse in the following weeks, and the risk of getting potentially fatal complications may rise.
How Can Thypoid Fever Be Treated?
Antibiotics must be administered promptly for the treatment of typhoid fever.
Early diagnosis of typhoid fever usually results in mild infection, which is usually treated at home with a course of antibiotic tablets lasting 7 to 14 days.
Most severe cases of typhoid fever require hospitalization so that antibiotic injections can be given.
People who receive prompt antibiotic treatment will typically start feeling better within a few days, and serious complications are extremely rare.
Is Thypoid Fever Linked To Municipal Water?
According to the National Institute For Communicable Diseases (NICD), there has been no evidence found that recent cases of Thypoid Fever are linked to contaminated municipal water in any part of the country (Read full article here).
The NIDC states that all ‘evidence’ which says the fever is linked to municipal water is factually incorrect.
“There is no evidence that recent cases of enteric fever are linked to contaminated municipal water in any part of the country, and there is no evidence that the bacteria causing enteric fever have recently been identified in municipal water sources anywhere in the country. This includes those districts in Western Cape and North West provinces in which the clusters (small localised outbreaks) have been identified“.
How Can You Prevent Thypoid Fever Infection?
The disease can be prevented by vaccination. For people ages two and older, an injectable vaccine is available based on the purified antigen. There is also an oral live attenuated vaccine in capsule form available for those aged five and older.
Other preventative measures can also be taken:
- Always cook food thoroughly before eating.
- Avoid raw milk products, and only consume pasteurised or boiled milk.
- If you are unsure that the water is safe, boil it first.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap.
- Ensure that fruits and vegetables are thoroughly cleaned before consumption.
- According to the WHO, raw fruits and vegetables should be peeled.
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