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Taiwan on alert for surge of paratyphoid fever

Taiwan reports highest number of paratyphoid cases in a decade

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Taiwan CDC holds press conference on Nov. 28, 2023 about paratyphoid fever cases. (Taiwan CDC photo)

Taiwan CDC holds press conference on Nov. 28, 2023 about paratyphoid fever cases. (Taiwan CDC photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Health authorities in Taiwan are sounding the alarm about paratyphoid fever, a bacterial infection that has afflicted 23 individuals so far this year, marking the highest number of cases in over a decade.

As of Monday (Nov. 27), the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 22 domestic cases and one imported case from Indonesia. Among the local cases, 15 were men and seven were women, ranging from teenagers to individuals in their 50s across 11 cities and counties.

The category 2 infectious disease is caused by Salmonella paratyphi A, transmitted through the consumption of contaminated food or water tainted with the feces or urine of infected individuals. The incubation period of the disease spans one to 10 days, with symptoms including fever, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, slow heart rate, and skin rash.

Several cases disclosed a history of consuming raw or inadequately cooked food, such as raw fish, raw oysters, raw shrimp, and roasted oysters. The CDC is conducting gene sequencing in an investigation aimed at identifying any common sources of exposure.

During a press conference on Tuesday (Nov. 28), CDC Spokesperson Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) noted that a preliminary investigation has not revealed any signs of cluster infections. Medical officer Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said that if left untreated, the illness could progress to gastrointestinal bleeding and potentially result in fatalities.