Cordillera typhoid fever cases decrease by 48 percent

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BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) reported that typhoid fever cases in the region dropped by 48 percent after the agency was able to record some 152 cases during the first four weeks of this year compared to the 294 cases that were documented during the same period last year.

Based on the data obtained from the DOH-CAR’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU), there were no typhoid fever-related deaths during the surveillance period for this year and even last year.

The typhoid fever cases were from Benguet – 65 or 17 percent decrease; Kalinga – 37 or 5 percent decrease; Apayao – 33 or 200 percent increase; Baguio city – 5 or 69 percent decrease; Abra – 3 or 63 percent decrease; Ifugao – 2 or 91 percent decrease; Mountain Province – 1 or 91 percent decrease and non-CAR provinces – 6 or no change was reflected.

Health authorities disclosed that there were 8 males who were able to contract the said illness which represents 71 percent of the total affected persons.

According to the RESU report, the age range of the affected individuals is from 1 month to 83 years old with a median of 21 years old.

Further, the DOH-CAR recorded clustering of cases in Apayao, Benguet and Kalinga during the reckoning period.

Health experts said typhoid fever is a systematic bacterial disease with insidious onset of sustained fever, severe headache, malaise, anorexia, splenomegaly, non-productive cough in the early stage of the illness and constipation more often than diarrhea in adults.

Further, health officials claimed the infection is transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated feces, food and water.

Among the preventive measures that must be observed to prevent individuals from contracting the dreaded illness include the practice of proper handwashing before food preparation, before eating, after using the toilet; maintaining a high standard personal hygiene; maintaining rigorous standards of cleanliness in food preparation, food handling and food storage, especially salads and other cold-served foods and reporting of all diarrheal cases with increasing trend or clustering to the concerned health offices.

Typhoid fever is caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria. Typhoid fever is rare in industrialized countries. However, it remains a serious health threat in the developing world, especially for children.

Typhoid fever spreads through contaminated food and water or through close contact with someone who’s infected. Signs and symptoms usually include a high fever, headache, abdominal pain, and either constipation or diarrhea.

Most people with typhoid fever feel better within a few days of starting antibiotic treatment, although a small number of them may die of complications. Vaccines against typhoid fever are available, but they are only partially effective. Vaccines usually are reserved for those who may be exposed to the disease or are traveling to areas where typhoid fever is common.

By Dexter A. See