Amid KL typhoid outbreak, Malaysia's Health Ministry assures disease preventable and treatable

Typhoid fever is spread by eating food or water contaminated with excreta from an infected person.
Typhoid fever is spread by eating food or water contaminated with excreta from an infected person.PHOTO: THE STAR

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Health Ministry on Thursday (Oct 22) assured the public that the typhoid disease can be prevented or treated easily, amid concerns following an outbreak of the disease in Kuala Lumpur.

"There are lots of rumours and enquiries on the typhoid fever situation in Kuala Lumpur. People should not be worried because it is treatable," Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said in a statement posted in his ministry's Facebook page on Thursday.

"My advice to the public is to please maintain good hygienic practices in their daily life," he added.

Typhoid fever cases have seen a sudden spike in the country with 32 cases reported in Kuala Lumpur since August, and the ministry is rushing to find the source of the infection.

According to the ministry's director-general, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, those stricken were mostly construction workers living in Cheras and near the city centre.

No deaths have been reported so far.

Dr Subramaniam said the disease was endemic and that the ministry has diagnosis and antibiotic access to detect and treat typhoid cases.

He also advised people to choose restaurants or food stalls that were clean.

He added that personal hygiene should also be emphasised, especially before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.

"People are also advised to go for checks and early treatment in any nearby medical facility if they suffer any typhoid fever symptoms, to avoid complications and spreading the disease," Dr Subramaniam said.

Meanwhile, the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) confirmed Thursday that it is currently treating patients for typhoid fever but not all are serious cases.

HKL's consultant physician and infectious diseases specialist Dr Leong Chee Loon said many factors could have caused the disease - including the cleanliness of stalls, water and ice supplies.

"However, there is just no way of knowing until a thorough investigation has been concluded," he added.

Typhoid fever is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and is spread by eating food or water contaminated with excreta from an infected person. The symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, headache and fatigue.

Older children and adults are usually constipated whereas younger children may have diarrhoea. Humans are the only species affected by typhoid.