Typhoid outbreak in Tairāwhiti
Six cases of typhoid have been identified in a team of rural workers in Tairāwhiti.
Public health officials believe the outbreak began with one of the team members who recently returned from overseas. Control measures have been put in place so further spread outside of the group is unlikely.
“This is a small but significant outbreak confined to a rurally based work group,” says Dr Jim Miller, Te Whatu Ora Medical Officer of Health.
Typhoid can be a serious illness, however, the cases so far have been treated and are recovering. The rest of the group of workers have been given advice and offered testing for typhoid, Dr Miller says.
Illness usually starts between seven and 21 days after infection. Symptoms include fever and generally feeling unwell. This is sometimes accompanied by abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
The local public health service is monitoring the situation and is in regular contact with the group to ensure that support is in place and any further illness in those already possibly exposed, is investigated and treated promptly.
Typhoid is caused by a type of Salmonella that only lives in humans. The disease is not common in Aotearoa New Zealand and is generally associated with overseas travel. It is usually spread through drinking or eating food or water contaminated by an infected person. Direct spread between people is unusual.
Although further cases outside the group of workers are unlikely, people with any concerns can call Healthline on 0800 611 116, or contact their doctor or usual health provider.