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Taiwan reports 1st domestic typhoid case of 2024

02/20/2024 06:28 PM
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Members of the general public exits the National Taiwan University Hospital in this illustrative CNA photo
Members of the general public exits the National Taiwan University Hospital in this illustrative CNA photo

Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) Taiwan on Tuesday reported its first locally acquired typhoid fever case this year, a woman in her 20s who traveled to a fishing port in northern Taiwan recently.

The woman, a northern Taiwan resident, developed symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea on Feb. 2 and sought medical attention before returning home to rest and recuperate, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青), said Tuesday at a press conference.

She had a fever on Feb. 11 and went to see the doctor again on Feb. 13 and took a test for typhoid fever. The test came back positive on Feb. 16. The woman is still hospitalized for treatment, according to Lin.

The woman has no overseas travel history but had visited a fishing port in northern Taiwan with two friends, where they consumed raw oysters and sashimi. It is likely that she contracted the bacteria through consumption of contaminated raw seafood during the trip, Lin said.

Her two friends also developed vomiting and diarrhea symptoms on Feb. 2 but have recovered, according to CDC Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞).

Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun address local press on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 20, 2024
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun address local press on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 20, 2024

In addition, two family members who lived with the woman, her 23 close contacts at work and two food preparation workers at the fishing port have shown no suspected symptoms so far, Lo said, adding that related tests and investigations into the origin of her infection are ongoing.

Taiwan has accumulated 49 typhoid cases since 2019, 18 of which were domestic cases, while 31 were imported, mostly from Indonesia, CDC data showed.

Lin said typhoid is a bacterial infection of the intestinal tract caused by Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi bacteria which have an incubation period ranging from eight to 14 days on average but can range from three to 60 days.

Typhoid fever is transmitted by consuming raw or undercooked food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, Lin said.

Common symptoms include persistent fever, a headache, loss of appetite, stomach pain, diarrhea and rash, he added.

Typhoid fever can usually be treated with antibiotic medication, but the case fatality rate can reach 10 percent if left untreated, Lin said.

Given that it is usually spread through ingestion of contaminated food or water, Lin advised people to wash their hands and cook food properly to avoid infection.

(By Zheng Yi-ning and Evelyn Kao)

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