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Typhoid outbreak in Alberton?

by , 29 October 2013

Typhoid isn't an illness that worries too many city-dwellers. But that could change in the Jo'burg suburb of Alberton where one child landed in intensive care for 11 days and another has been booked off school sick for two weeks after contracting typhoid. Would you know what to look for? Don't worry, we've got you covered…

“Laurika van der Westhuizen’s five-year-old autistic son Nathan was admitted to Netcare Clinton Hospital in Alberton on September 18 and discharged earlier this month, after being diagnosed with typhoid fever as well as an enlarged gallbladder, spleen and liver,” reports IOL.

And she’s blaming the “incessant sewage spillage in their street in Dewitsrus in Alberton” for it.

What causes typhoid?

She’s not wrong. After all, studies reveals that people usually contract typhoid fever by being exposed to food or water contaminated with faeces that contain the Salmonella Typhi bacteria, explains webMD.

And that’s why it’s so rare to find cases of typhoid in urban areas like Alberton. But, with sewerage and service delivery issues being rife in SA, researchers estimate outbreaks are about to become much more common.

Typhoid symptoms: Know what to look for…

If you’ve never had to deal with typhoid before you need to know that symptoms range from mild to severe, and can come on suddenly or very gradually over a few weeks.

That’s why kidshealth.org suggests you watch out for the following early signs and symptoms of the illness if you think you or a family member have been exposed to the illness.

These symptoms include:

  • A fever that reaches as high as 40°C
  • Feeling achy, tired or weak
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain and loss of appetite
  • Sore throat

If you experience these symptoms after, says a day at the dam, speak to your doctor about being tested. If you don’t treat typhoid early, it can lead to serious lung and heart complications, infections in your bones or joints, urinary tract infections and mental health problems.

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