Health officials in Guatemala are reporting a typhoid outbreak in Petén department in the north of the country, according to a Prensa Libre report (computer translated).


The outbreak began in the municipality of Dolores one month ago, according to Health Minister, Lucrecia Hernandez.

To date, 60 typhoid cases have been confirmed, including two deaths.

The minister asked the public, particularly of Dolores, Petén, when you start having symptoms of fever and abdominal pain, they should seek medical attention.

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Improper food handling is suspected in the outbreak as water analysis in the area hasn’t turned up anything.

“We have seen a reduction in the number of registered cases; But we still can not say that the outbreak is contained, we hope to do so in the coming weeks, “Hernandez said. The investigation is ongoing.

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.

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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.

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