Multiple local news outlets reported that the typhoid fever cases are on the rise in KL.
As such, in a statement released on Monday (19th October 2015), the Malaysian Health Ministry urged public to pay attention to the level of cleanliness at shops they frequently visit, including the cleanliness of the staff and the food being served.
Typhoid fever is typically caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhii that contamined food or drinks. So far, humans are the only species affected by the typhoid.
According to The Star Online, it is “spread by the ingestion of food or water contamined with excreta from an infected person, who may or may not have symptoms of the infection”.
Symptoms usually begin to surface between one and 3 weeks after infection and these include abdominal pain, high fever, headaches, vomiting, and fatigue. Older children and adults usually experience constipation while younger children may have diarrhoea.
If the infection is severe, it could lead to complications such as brain malfunction, shock and occasionally intestinal bleeding and perforation.
Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah confirmed that a total of 32 typhoid fever cases have been reported in the last 2 and a half months.
He said that 7 cases of typhoid fever were reported in the first week of August and those affected were the construction workers living in Cheras. However, the area with the highest typhoid fever cases is Titiwangsa, with 16 typhoid fever cases reported in that area. Kepong has 8 confirmed typhoid fever cases confirmed while Lembah Pantai has 4. On 18th October, another 4 cases were reported in Cheras, making it a total of 32 cases.
So far, no deaths have been reported.
Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement that they’ve conducted epidemiological investigations to identify the source of the typhoid outbreak in the city. However, they have yet to “surmise the reason behind the infection” as there were no similarities between the cases.
To coordinate investigations and monitor activities, more than 37 contract workers as well as their families and their colleagues have been monitored. Food vendors have been monitored as well and a total of 24 food premises have been checked. 79 stool samples and 4 drinking water samples were taken, but they were reported negative for Salmonella typhii.
Dr Noor Hisham added that inspections on ice factories have also been done and the monitoring and control of water supply systems are ongoing to ensure water supply in WPKL is good.
To avoid the spread of the disease, the Malaysian Health Ministry is currently “working hard to implement preventive measures and control”. Dr Noor Hisham also said “updates will be issued periodically”.