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Taiwan records first case of imported XDR typhoid fever

2019/09/24 20:32:43

Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) Taiwan reported its first imported case of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid fever, diagnosed in a patient who recently returned from a visit to Pakistan, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday.

XDR typhoid is a life-threatening and highly infectious disease, resistant to five classes of antibiotics.

According to the website of the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease can be classified into three types -- non-resistant typhoid fever, multi-drug resistant (MDR) typhoid fever, and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid fever -- with the latter being the most difficult to treat, with azithromycin the only effective oral antibiotic.

Pakistan has been battling an outbreak of XDR typhoid fever since 2016 and so far, thousands of people have died from the disease.

On Tuesday, the CDC said the Taiwanese patient was in his 30s and had visited Indonesia, Morocco, India and Pakistan.

He most likely contracted the virus during his stay in Pakistan, the CDC said.

The patient began to show symptoms of typhoid, such as diarrhea, fever and a rash Aug. 4 while still overseas, but only took medicine and waited to visit a local hospital after his return to Taiwan Aug. 26.

As his condition did not improve, the CDC said he returned to the hospital Aug. 31 for tests, which showed he had contracted XDR typhoid.

The patient is now in stable condition, but is currently being kept in an isolation ward at the hospital for further observation, the CDC said.

According to the center, it is the first case of imported XDR typhoid ever to be recorded in Taiwan.

Typhoid fever is transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food or water and its symptoms include a persistent fever, headache, diarrhea and coughing, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said, adding that the incubation period for typhoid is usually 8-14 days, but can vary from three days to one month.

Lin advised the public to refrain from eating uncooked food or drinking untreated water in areas where typhoid is endemic. Visitors should also wash their hands thoroughly before eating and consider getting vaccinated against typhoid if they plan to travel frequently to such areas.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Ko Lin)
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