The El Salvador Ministry of Health (MINSAL) is reporting increases in typhoid fever this year to date as compared to the same period in 2018.

Salmonella serotype Typhi
Typhoid image/CDC

According to a La Prensa Grafica report (computer translated), through the first twelve weeks of 2019, 517 cases have been reported. This is an 65 percent increase compared to the 313 cases reported this time last year.

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.