CDC confirms first cluster of imported typhoid infections

WATCH WHAT YOU EAT::The agency said people should avoid consuming raw food and unpurified water in regions where the disease is endemic

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Sep 12, 2018 - Page 3

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed the first cluster of imported typhoid fever cases this year and urged people to pay attention to food sanitation when traveling to areas where typhoid is endemic.

The patients, a new immigrant woman and her eldest son, visited Indonesia from Aug. 6 to Aug. 19.

Upon their return, the woman experienced diarrhea and abdominal pain, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

She sought medical assistance three times from Aug. 20 to Aug. 30, and tests confirmed that she had contracted typhoid, he said.

The woman’s eldest son received treatment on Tuesday last week after developing a fever, cough and diarrhea on Aug. 31, Chuang said, adding that her husband and youngest son, who traveled to the same area, were not infected.

The incubation period for typhoid is usually eight to 14 days, but depending on the exposure to the disease, can vary from three days to a month, he said.

The woman and her eldest son dined mostly at home while in Indonesia and consumed only homegrown vegetables, CDC doctor Chen Wan-ching (陳婉青) said.

They were probably exposed to poor sanitation and hygiene practices, which led them to contract the bacterial infection, Chen said.

Typhoid fever is transmitted through ingesting contaminated food or water, and its symptoms include a persistent fever, headache, diarrhea and coughing.

Chen advised people to refrain from eating uncooked food or drinking unpurified water in areas where typhoid is endemic.

People should also wash their hands thoroughly before eating and consider getting a typhoid vaccination if they plan to travel frequently to such areas, Chen said.