The National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa reports multiple outbreaks of typhoid fever in the Western Cape and North West.
There are currently 64 cases of enteric fever in the Western Cape, in three separate outbreaks, 18 in North West, 45 in Gauteng, 12 in Mpumalanga, nine in KwaZulu-Natal, seven in the Eastern Cape, four in the Free State and four in Limpopo.
Salmonella Typhi, the bacterium that causes Typhoid fever is endemic in South Africa, in general the country sees fewer than 150 cases a year.
Typhoid fever is a life-threatening bacterial infection. Typhoid fever is still common in the developing world, where it affects about 21 million people annually.
Salmonella typhi lives only in humans. Persons with typhoid fever carry the bacteria in their bloodstream and intestinal tract. In addition, a small number of persons, called carriers, recover from typhoid fever but continue to carry the bacteria. Both ill persons and carriers shed S.typhi in their feces.
You can get typhoid fever if you eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by a person who is shedding S. typhi or if sewage contaminated with S. typhi bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing food. Therefore, typhoid fever is more common in areas of the world where handwashing is less frequent and water is likely to be contaminated with sewage.
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