In a follow-up on an 11th suspect typhoid case in Auckland, News Zealand, health officials confirmed today that that case is indeed typhoid fever.

Salmonella serotype Typhi
Typhoid image/CDC

That person has also been hospitalized. Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) Clinical Director Dr Julia Peters says the cases are all linked and are members of a Pacific church community in Auckland.

ARPHS is following up with 60 contacts of the group.

“It is a localized outbreak,” says Dr Peters. “Knowing that the cases are connected as gives us a clear direction but this is still a serious situation and we are following up other connections.”

Auckland gets around 30 cases of typhoid a year but they are usually individual cases where someone has been infected overseas.

“This is a local outbreak and at this stage we do not know how or when it got into Auckland.”  Dr Peters says ARPHS is trying to find the source but it is not always possible to identify the source as some people can carry the disease for some time without passing it on.

Dr Peters says typhoid is spread primarily through food and water but can be spread person to person. Good basic hand-washing is one of the best means of protecting yourself.

Symptoms include a high fever developing over several days, headaches, general weakness and muscle aches. Stomach pain and constipation are also common but some people get diarrhea. Typhoid is a serious illness and is potentially fatal but it can be treated with antibiotics.