The Pakistan Medical Association has expressed concerns over the outbreak of the drug-resistant XDR typhoid cases in Karachi and rural Sindh and has advised the people to take precautionary measures.
The ‘superbug’ or XDR typhoid fever is characterised by a virus that does not respond to most antibiotics.
A statement by the medical association stated that the XDR typhoid cases have exceeded the 8,000 figure. Most of the cases were reported from Karachi, followed by Hyderabad, Sanghar and the adjoining districts. “It is a serious water-borne infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi that spreads through contaminated food and water. High-grade fever, weakness, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, cough, and loss of appetite are some of the symptoms,” the PMA said.
You can take the following steps to minimise the risk of contracting typhoid fever.
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating and after using the bathroom.
- Boil water before drinking or disinfect it by filtering or chemically treating it.
- Avoid eating food prepared by someone who is sick or has been sick.
- Avoid street food.
- Raw fruits or vegetables should be avoided unless you can peel them or wash them with clean water.
- Avoid salads if possible as shredded or finely cut vegetables offer a lot of surface area for germs to grow on.
- Also avoid fresh salsas or other condiments made from raw fruits or vegetables.
- Avoid raw meat or seafood as they may contain germs.
- Not take antibiotics prescribed by homeopaths.
The ‘superbug’ typhoid fever took several lives in February last year. In July last year, the US had issued a travel advisory to its citizens visiting friends or relatives in Pakistan after an outbreak of the typhoid fever. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention had issued a level-2 alert, asking travelers to “practice enhanced precautions”.
The Sindh Health Department will launch a vaccination campaign for ‘superbug’ typhoid fever in March.
The vaccination for superbug typhoid fever has also been added to the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), which aims to vaccinate children aged 0-15 months against ten vaccine-preventable diseases.
According to the health department, children between the ages of six months to five years will be vaccinated in the first phase, while children between the ages of five to 15 years will be vaccinated in the second phase.
Around 10 million children will be vaccinated in the programme and more than 10,000 vaccinators will also be hired for the job.