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Taiwan reports first typhoid fever case this year

Teen in central Taiwan first diagnosed case of typhoid fever in 2021

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday (March 9) announced the country's first locally acquired case of typhoid fever this year.

A teenage female who lives in central Taiwan began experiencing a fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other symptoms starting on Feb. 2 of this year. When she sought medical treatment, she was diagnosed with stomach flu.

On Feb. 8, she was hospitalized for a high fever and was discharged on Feb. 11. However, she sought additional medical treatment several times for fever, cough, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

As her condition failed to improve, she checked into the hospital again for treatment and testing. A test for typhoid bacilli came back positive.

She is currently still undergoing treatment at the hospital. Thus far, no family members or classmates have reported experiencing symptoms of the disease.

The health department is currently investigating the patient's dietary and contact history while testing those persons who interacted with her to pinpoint the source of the infection. Due to the fact that she did not travel abroad during the disease's incubation period, the preliminary assessment is that she is a local case.

According to CDC statistics, there have been about 10 to 21 cases of typhoid fever each year in Taiwan over the past five years (2017-2021). Over the time span, there have been 19 local cases and 46 imported from abroad.

The largest number of imported cases came from Indonesia at 19, followed by India with eight cases and Myanmar and the Philippines with five cases each.

Typhoid fever is a gastrointestinal infectious disease caused by typhoid bacilli. The incubation period is generally about 8-14 days, ranging from 3-60 days at the extremes.

The route of transmission is raw food or eating uncooked food or drinking water that is contaminated by the feces of patients or carriers. Common symptoms include persistent fever, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or cough.

Ways to prevent typhoid fever include only eating food that is fully cooked and still warm, avoiding raw foods, and boiling drinking water, or consuming bottled mineral water. In addition, it is important to implement good hygienic practices and wash hands with soap before meals and after going to the toilet.

For more information, visit the CDC website or call the toll-free epidemic prevention hotline 1922 (or 0800-001922).