Over 30 typhoid fever cases in SA in two months

Parliament – Over 30 cases of typhoid fever have been reported in the country between January and February, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Wednesday.

A total of 33 cases, including two deaths, had been reported in five provinces, he told Parliament’s health committee.

There were 17 in Gauteng, 12 in the Western Cape, two in KwaZulu-Natal, and one each in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Most of those affected had travelled a month or so before they fell ill. Typhoid fever is a severe illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi.

The minister told the committee that typhoid fever was endemic in South Africa, but had a very low incidence rate.

“Sporadic cases are reported in the country and mostly with travel history to possibly endemic areas. The confirmed cases do not necessarily constitute an outbreak,” he said.

He emphasised the need for ongoing comprehensive investigation and management of the fever.

Questioned about the spread of bacteria, he said one of the biggest problems was people selling and cooking food on the streets.

There were not enough health inspectors to check on the carcasses and the food being cooked, he said.

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