Health authorities in the south-eastern Zimbabwe town of Masvingo are reporting an outbreak of the bacterial infection, typhoid, where four cases were admitted to the local hospital, according to a ZimEye.com report.
“We can confirm that four cases of typhoid have been recorded in the city of Masvingo. We suspect the outbreak has been caused by the lack of water treatment facilities”, a Masvingo Provincial Hospital official noted.
Typhoid fever, caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, 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 foodor 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.
Typhoid fever can be successfully treated with appropriate antibiotics, and persons given antibiotics usually begin to feel better within 2 to 3 days.