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Typhoid trouble

Dawn Gibson
Monday, July 07, 2014

LAST week, The Fiji Times asked members of the public to explain, through the daily street poll, what they know about "typhoid" just to gauge what levels of understanding were like among the general public.

Responses which came proved quite basic, containing general information about typhoid.

So, obviously people are not entirely sure what the illness is or where it comes from - this next paragraph may help.

The World Health Organization explains it's "an infection which is transmitted by ingestion of faecally contaminated food or water.

The highest incidence occurs where water supplies serving a large population are faecally contaminated".

Interestingly, WHO points out that humans are the only natural host and reservoir for the sickness.

In order to steer clear of this illness, national adviser communicable diseases Dr Mike Kama told this newspaper earlier that people need to be more careful.

"Wash hands with soap and water often - before preparing meals and after using the toilet," he said.

"Never use a river as a toilet also, clean and sanitise flush toilets. Boil drinking water if it's untreated."

With Fiji being something of a kava-drinking country, people are being reminded to be hygienic when mixing kava, especially if sharing it with other people, as it means they too can get sick.

"Maintain clean surroundings and dispose of rubbish properly.

"People cannot correlate that even though their hands look clean, their hands still harbour the typhoid bacteria which are usually hidden underneath their fingernails.

"They are still able to transmit typhoid to other people if they do not wash their hands properly with soap and water," he warned.

If you're wondering what the symptoms are, they include fever, headaches and diarrhoea.

"If people are suffering from fever for three days or more and if associated with diarrhoea, constipation, body pain and poor appetite, go to the nearest health centre for further investigation and treatment."

He also noted that if you farm, it's important to keep the farm above water sources and keep the animals fenced away from the water source or nearby rivers.

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