With more than a thousand victims from the typhoid outbreak in Laguna last March 2008, the health alert on this life threatening disease is still relevant today. Parents are set on heightening the barriers against typhoid and ensuring their kids’ safety.
The World Health Organization identifies typhoid as a serious public health problem, with an estimated 16 to 33 million cases annually, resulting in 500,000 to 600,000 deaths in endemic areas. What is it? Typhoid fever is an illness caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. It is more prevalent in developing countries like the Philippines because of poor sanitation, with its incidence highest in children between 5 and 19 years old.
How is it acquired?
Salmonella typhi lives only in humans, with the bacteria traveling through the bloodstream
into the intestinal tract. Transmitted primarily through the oral-fecal route, one can get infected
by consuming food and beverages handled and contaminated by a person with Salmonella typhi,
or if the drinking water or water used in washing food is contaminated. Contaminated shellfish,
raw fruits and vegetables, non-pasteurized milk, and dairy products are also possible sources. Once the bacteria enters the person’s body, they multiply and spread to the whole body.
What are its symptoms?
It takes about one to two weeks after contamination before symptoms show. Symptoms include
sustained high fever (39ºC to 40ºC), severe headache, overall fatigue or weakness, loss of appetite, diarrhea or constipation, and abdominal discomfort. The only way to confirm if one has typhoid is through stool examinations and blood culture tests.
Click here to read on about the treatment and prevention of Typhoid Fever.