News, Regional News

Health facilities on high alert following XDR Typhoid outbreak

Karachi: The Medical & Health Services Department of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) declared a high alert in all medical institutions and hospitals to cater to the drug –resistance (XDR) typhoid fever patients. The heads of health facilities have been directed to prepare a contingency plan for the ongoing emergency.

The extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid fever does not respond to most antibiotics. Health officials in Pakistan say an outbreak of XDR typhoid that began in 2016 has now affected more than 5,200 people, according to an update from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The circulating strain of XDR Salmonella Entericaserovar Typhi, which is resistant to antibiotics, was first reported in the Hyderabad district of Sindh in 2016 and has been spreading throughout the province since then. The majority of cases (69%) have been reported in Karachi, 27% have been reported in the Hyderabad district while 4% have hailed from other districts of the province.

Senior Director, Medical & Health Services (M&HS) Department, KMC, Dr Birbal Genani, stated that all the heads of institutions, as well as focal persons (working during previous emergencies), have been directed to make foolproof arrangements to deal with the XDR typhoid medical emergency in their respective hospitals and ensure their presence as well as that of their staff on call.

He quoted that medical superintendents have been instructed to prepare a contingency plan for this outbreak and submit it to him. Any case reported should be notified immediately to him so that it may be transmitted to higher authorities.

Dr Birbal informed that the bacteria that cause typhoid fever are spread through contaminated food and water. He advised that citizens could reduce their risk of infection in several ways including avoiding food from street vendors, washing their hands often, especially before eating and after using the bathroom, drinking boiled water, avoiding raw fruits and meat and not drinking tap or water from wells.

Birbal further quoted that typhoid fever vaccines are available in oral and injectable vaccine forms. He concluded by urging the citizens to get vaccinations against typhoid fever.

February 15, 2019

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