Typhoid fever cases in Cordillera increase by 35 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 increased by 35 percent last year after recording some 3,418 cases compared to the 2,529 cases during the same period the previous year.

Based on the data obtained from the DOH-CAR’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit (RESU), there were 2 typhoid fever-related deaths last year compared to the zero deaths recorded by the agency during the same period the previous year.

Health experts disclosed that clustering of typhoid fever cases were noted in the different parts of the region that prompted the different disease reporting units to be on alert for the supposed spread of the illness.

According to health experts, 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.

The only effective treatment for typhoid is antibiotics. The most commonly used are ciprofloxacin (for non-pregnant adults) and ceftriaxone. Other than antibiotics, it is important to rehydrate by drinking adequate water. In more severe cases, where the bowel has become perforated, surgery may be required.

Health officials advised individuals suffering from the initial symptoms of the dreaded illness to immediately consult health experts in the nearest medical facilities in their places so that they will be provided with immediate medication and for them to avoid self-medication that will further compromise their health condition.

By Dexter A. See