Typhoid fever common in wet season

By Alexander Rheeney ,

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HERE COMES THE WET SEASON: Members of the public are asked to take extra care in the wet season.

HERE COMES THE WET SEASON: Members of the public are asked to take extra care in the wet season. (Photo: Misiona Simo/Samoa Observer)

Typhoid fever is common in the wet season and early detection and treatment is recommended as one in five people can die from it.

The caution from the Ministry of Health was highlighted in its communicable disease surveillance bulletin for January-April this year, which was released recently.

A graph, which showed the different age groups and how many cases were detected for each category, showed that August 2017 had the highest number of cases reported which exceeded the threshold.

While the Ministry acknowledged that there were problems with incomplete data, it said hospital staff should not drop their guard and continue to be on alert. 

“Recognizing this problem at this early stage leaves room for improvement, hence we continue to urge our clinical staff, especially at the doctors and nurses level to improve documentation of these information; the Lab team to incorporate current addresses and phone contacts into test results forms as well as the Hospital Wards to refer clinically diagnosed Typhoid to Surveillance Team as soon as possible,” stated the bulletin.

Other communicable diseases that had data included in the bulletin included influenza-like illnesses, prolong fever, diarrhea and acute fever and rash. For diarrhea, the bulletin indicated that there were over 100 cases recorded for January to April this year. 

“From January to April 2018, an average 131 diarrhea cases were reported weekly, with the first week of January having the highest number reported. As these are expected to fluctuate close to the threshold during this wet season, we continue to monitor it closely.”

For acute fever and rash, the number of reported cases for that juncture remained below the threshold (on average 8 cases per week).

While there was a dengue fever outbreak in October last year, which mainly affected Apia Urban and North West Upolu, the bulletin advised that the dengue fever outbreak was over as of May this year.

“As of 22nd April 2018, a cumulative total of clinical and lab confirmed cases reported was 3293 with a national attack rate of 16.4 per 1,000 population. 

“However, the number of cases reported peaked towards the end of November (300 plus total) and steadily declined from December (last year) through to April 2018 with as low as 5 total cases reported near the end of April.

“Thus, we are pleased to inform that we have nationally declared the ending of the dengue virus outbreak as of May 2018. Though our team continues to monitor its trend over time,” stated the bulletin.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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