Typhoid fever alert
Eat well-cooked food, drink boiled water, and keep your home environment clean to prevent disease
While the Ministry of Health is campaigning on the prevention of dengue fever in the upcoming wet season, it's also a time to be alert to the dangers of typhoid fever.
The Ministry of Health says that some people in a northern province have already been infected with typhoid this year, although the disease has now been contained.
What is typhoid fever?
Water sourced from springs should be boiled before drinking.
Typhoid fever is an acute illness associated with fever caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. It can also be caused by Salmonella paratyphi, a related bacterium that usually causes a less severe illness. The bacteria are deposited in water or food by a human carrier and are then spread to other people in the area.
Worldwide, typhoid fever affects more than 21 million people annually, with about 200,000 people dying from the disease. India, Pakistan, and Egypt are also known as high-risk areas for developing this disease.
How do people get typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is contracted by drinking or eating the bacteria in contaminated food or water. People with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through stool, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. Contamination of the water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. The bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage.
About 3-5 percent of people become carriers of the bacteria after the acute illness. Others suffer a very mild illness that goes unrecognised. These people may become long-term carriers of the bacteria - even though they have no symptoms - and be the source of new outbreaks of typhoid fever for many years.
What are the signs and symptoms of typhoid fever?
Persons with typhoid fever usually have a sustained fever as high as 39° to 40° C. They may also feel weak, or have stomach pains, headache, or loss of appetite. In some cases, patients have a rash of flat, rose-coloured spots. The only way to know for sure if an illness is typhoid fever is to have samples of stool or blood tested for the presence of Salmonella Typhi.
To keep typhoid at bay, Director of the Vientiane Health Department, Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, advises people to eat only cooked food, drink boiled water and ensure that their homes and environs are clean.
If you practice these principles carefully, you will not only lower the risk of typhoid infection, but you and your family are less likely to suffer gastrointestinal problems. And cleanliness also helps to ward off dengue fever as well.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 1, 2017)