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18 November 2021 Media Release: Typhoid cases in George

Media Release: Typhoid Fever in George

For Immediate Release
18 November 2021

Isolated Typhoid hotspots have recently been identified in the Garden Route, more specifically the George municipal area.

Of paramount importance in the fight against typhoid fever, is awareness and the management of already notified cases. Therefore, the role and functions of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Municipal Health Services cannot be over emphasised. Prompt interaction with the notified cases will prevent further spread, although difficulties with correct addresses sometimes are a challenge,’ says Johan Compion, Manager for Municipal Health and Environmental Management at GRDM. He added: “During the period of August 2020 until September 2021, fourteen (14) cases including one (1) death were reported from the George region (GRDM),” Compion said.

Typhoid fever is a life-threatening infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. It is usually spread through contaminated food or water. Salmonella Typhi lives only in humans.

Typhoid is endemic in South Africa. The normal Typhoid case patient age ranges from 4 years to 27 years. Typhoid risk is higher in populations that lack access to safe water and access to adequate sanitation. Poor communities and vulnerable groups including children are at higher risk. Typhoid fever is also climate related as the germs spread easier during the summer period, making this disease Climate Change related.

A walk through survey and investigation was conducted in order to determine possible cause of the typhoid fever in the affected areas and the following were observed:

  • Illegal dumped waste
  • Pools of stagnant water
  • Animals such as pigs roaming around the area
  • Overflowing sewage
  • Man-made urinal stalls
  • Prolonged high fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation or diarrhoea

Access to safe water and adequate sanitation, hygiene among food handlers and typhoid vaccination are all-effective in preventing typhoid fever.

Recently, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) have taken water samples to be analysed for Salmonella and Vibrio Cholera. Eight sewage water samples were taken to detect the salmonella typhi and vibrio cholera from different areas in Thembalethu and the Outeniqua Water Works in Rosedale. All those samples taken from the sewage, comply with the standard limit.

EHPs from GRDM monitor the pump stations and river water samples will be taken on a monthly basis.

The aim of this Sampling programme is to reduce the health and safety risks resulting from exposure to contaminated river water.

Compion highlighted that the GRDM Municipal Health section interacts with Local Municipalities on a regular basis to ensure the sustainability of river water and drinking water programs. Further to this he concluded: “Our GRDM EHPs are also busy with typhoid awareness in clinics and the community at large to prevent the spread on the fever in our area”.