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Sun Jul 24 22:27:23 SAST 2016

Typhoid fever cases no cause for alarm

TMG Digital and Katharine Child | 29 January, 2016 00:36
The National Institute for Communicable Disease has urged South Africans not to become overly concerned about typhoid fever. File photo
Image by: Gallo Images/ IStock

The Western Cape department of health yesterday confirmed three cases of typhoid fever in the province this month.

There have been six cases of typhoid fever in Gauteng in January and all appear to be unrelated.

The National Institute for Communicable Disease has urged South Africans not to become overly concerned about typhoid fever.

Deputy Director of the Institute Lucille Blumberg said: "You get cases of typhoid all over the country. Some are from travel. Some are endemic to South Africa."

She said there were 17 cases reported last January in South Africa. "It is not easy to contract. It comes from contaminated water or food.

"If a person with typhoid prepares food like a salad that is not cooked, it can spread. But heating and boiling food kills typhoid," she said.

Two confirmed typhoid fever cases - nine- and 10-year-old girls - were identified at facilities in the Cape Town Metropole and one case, a 52-year-old male, in the Cape Winelands district.

"All three cases are still under investigation and we await further detail around their condition and travel history," the department said.

Three of the six patients with typhoid fever in Gauteng are people who have recently returned from Zimbabwe.

Health authorities say there is no need for panic as sporadic cases are reported in all provinces every year.

The laboratory services in South Africa identified 72 typhoid cases in 2015, and 103 in 2014.

Most cases in South Africa have a travel history to a place where there is a current outbreak of typhoid.

Typhoid fever is transmitted by contaminated water and food. Cooking food kills most typhoid germs.

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