Officials with Palmerston North Hospital, located on the North Island of New Zealand have confirmed a case of typhoid in a child and there are links to the recent Auckland outbreak.

Salmonella serotype Typhi
Typhoid image/CDC

Medical Officer of Health Dr Patrick O’Connor says: “We tested the patient last week after they were admitted with bacteremia (a blood infection), and have received the results confirming typhoid.

Since admission to hospital, the patient has been treated in isolation, and infection control processes are in place to prevent the spread of this infection. This has minimised the risk to other patients and to hospital staff.

Close contacts of the patient were sampled over the weekend, with one contact found to be infected by the bacterium. While this person is well, they will be treated with antibiotics to eliminate the infection.

The contact attends an Early Childhood Education Centre. We have been working with the centre today and will be phoning parents/caregivers shortly, and  taking samples from the children and staff tomorrow.

All of the other contacts (of our hospitalized case) have tested negative for typhoid.

Dr O’Connor confirmed that there is a family link with the recent Auckland typhoid outbreak. The strain isolated from the local patient is identical to that from the Auckland cases, strongly suggesting that this was the source of the infection. Dr O’Connor says: “We will continue to work closely with the family and wider community to ensure that they receive the necessary information to keep themselves safe.

“It is important to understand that typhoid is spread by eating or drinking water that is contaminated with feces or urine from a person who has the illness, or who may be a carrier of the bacteria. Casual social contact such as visiting a person in hospital, or hugging and kissing them is not a significant risk to people.”