The provincial health department has on Thursday confirmed three cases of typhoid fever in western Cape.
The severe illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica typhi which has spread to places like Gauteng, is reported to have reached the western cape killing up to three persons two of which were children, both girls aged 9 and 10, in the Cape Town area. ‘The third patient was a 52-year-old man from the Cape Winelands’, the department’s spokesperson Mark van den Heever said.
Report also has it that some of them had traveled to affected areas including Zimbabwe. The first case was identified on 10th January and the latest one on 20th January.
The bacteria that causes this fever is acquired by swallowing the organism in contaminated food or water and its typical symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain, rash, diarrhoea, and an enlarged spleen.
Meanwhile, we could also recall that the Gauteng health department said it had confirmed four cases of the illness in Johannesburg, and that one person had died. The department also added that the cases were identified in Hillbrow and Yeoville in Johannesburg, Edenvale in Ekurhuleni, and Palm Springs in Vereeniging.
However, the deputy director of South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases educated the south African public on possible ways to avoid the disease and how they can identify cases of typhoid fever.
Speaking on how one can contact it, Lucille Blumberg said it occurs in situations where there is poor hygiene related to food preparation, where there is poor sanitation with inadequate ablution facilities and where drinking water is drawn from informal water sources. He said that hand hygiene after ablutions and before food preparation are critical in preventing the transmission of the bacteria to other people.
Speaking to Allafrica, she warned further that the danger with typhoid is that the symptoms are quite insidious, not specific, and mimic those of other infectious diseases and that the symptoms usually increase over a number of days.