An outbreak of Typhoid fever has been reported in Neno District claiming five deaths and 56 cases of suspects with 41 confirmed positive, district health authorities have said.
Typhoid fever patients exhibit symptoms of fever, headache, shivering and stomach-ache. It is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi, and spreads through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions, and sometimes by flying insects feeding on faeces.
Neno District Hospital spokesperson Caroline Banda said Traditional Authority (T/A) Dambe and Chakulemebra are the hot spots for the outbreak.
Said Banda: “We are intensifying health education on safe drinking water, hand washing, personal hygiene and food safety because the disease is associated with poor hygiene practices.”
She said they are also distributing chlorine to every household.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango confirmed the outbreak, saying the ministry is conducting community awareness and sensitisation campaigns.
Health rights activist Maziko Matemba has since urged the ministry of health to take the awareness campaign across the nation and “proper surveillance” to trace where the cases of disease are coming from.
Malango has since said a typhoid vaccine is one of the interventions that Ministry of Health could deploy if the outbreak was to show signs of getting out of control.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) as the most effective vaccine for fighting typhoid.
The new vaccine, if adopted, will be given to children from six months and above. Adults, aged 45, may also be vaccinated, as it gives long-term protection compared to the previous vaccine which could not be given to infants.