Tips to prevent being infected by the Typhoid superbug

Tips to prevent being infected by the Typhoid superbug
Karachi: Extensively drug resistant typhoid, or XDR typhoid, is rampaging through Karachi and rural Sindh. A statement by the Pakistan Medical Association states that more than 8,000 cases have been identified so far, most of them from Karachi and Hyderabad.


This particular strain of the virus, Salmonella Typhi,  is a multi drug resistant strain of typhoid fever that is resistantto 3rd generation Cephalosporin antibiotics. Sofar, more than a dozen people have lost their lives to the super bug. The water borne illness spreads through contaminated drinks and food.

As is always the case with virulent diseases, prevention is better than a cure. Like almost all viruses, this particular one can be avoided by practicing good hygiene.

Take the following measures to minimize the risk of an infection:
1.    Avoid eating raw fruit and vegetables unless you can wash them with filtered water.
2.    Wash your hands more often, especially before eating and after using the toilet.
3.    Avoid tap water and drink only boiled or filtered water.
4.    Do not eat foods that have been stored at room temperature. Opt for piping hot food instead.
5.    Do not add ice to your drinks when eating from a restaurant. Ice is usually made from unfiltered or tap water and could be carrying the virus.
6.    Avoid street foods.
7.    Avoid consuming raw meat and raw seafood such as sushi.

The symptoms of XDR typhoid include high grade fever, nausea, stomach ache, headache, cough, and either diarrhea or constipation. In case these symptoms are present, the patient should immediately be taken to a qualified doctor or a hospital. Homeopathic treatment and quacks must be avoided at all costs.

Sindh Health Department along with the Agha Khan Foundation have launched XDR typhoid vaccination drives in Hyderabad and Karachi. However, limited amounts of vaccines are being a hindrance as very few children have been vaccinated so far.
Pakistani health officials have contacted an Indian drug manufacturer for supply of the vaccine.