The Fiji Health Ministry is reporting a typhoid outbreak in Naitasiri subdivision. To date, 31 confirmed typhoid cases have been reported and an additional 14 cases are classified as suspected at this time.

Salmonella serotype Typhi
Typhoid image/CDC

The source of the outbreak is still under investigation.

Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says the ministry is monitoring the situation–“We don’t want this out break to actually get worse and more importantly we are now at the end of the year, where we’re all looking forward to Christmas and New Year. There’s a lot of functions that are happening, so it’s important that we contain this. We don’t want it to spread especially to the neighboring villagers and we also want to be sure that it does not spread into the towns and cities especially during this festive season.”

Typhoid fever is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. 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.

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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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Typhoid fever can be successfully treated with appropriate antibiotics, and persons given antibiotics usually begin to feel better within 2 to 3 days.

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