In a follow-up on the typhoid fever situation in El Salvador this year, health officials continue to see a rise in cases significantly higher than what was reported in 2017.

Image/Robert Herriman
Image/Robert Herriman

According to a La Prensa Grafica report (computer translated), the total cases of 2017 was 675, while the total between January and June of this year rose to 937.

All the departments of the country experienced significant increases in typhoid fever in the first six months of the year, with the exception of Cabañas, in comparison with the figures for the first six months of 2017.

According to the data, the departments that registered the highest increases were San Miguel, San Salvador, La Paz and Sonsonate.

Despite the rise in cases, it is not being classified as an epidemic since it has not affected all areas of the country.

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.

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.