Gharbiya residents report spread of typhoid as govt denies infections

Gharbiya residents report spread of typhoid as govt denies infections

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Thu, 14/02/2013 - 10:56

Gharbiya residents say typhoid is spreading through their village at an alarming rate, with more than 95 people recently infected.

Some Abu Salem village residents have lodged a complaint with the public prosecutor accusing the health minister and Gharbiya Governor Mohamed Mostafa Hamed of negligence leading to the spread of the disease. They say they private labs have confirmed the infections, though the government has denied these claims.

Local Mohamed Salem said unsanitary conditions and negligence have led to a frightening spread of the life-threatening illness. He alleges his wife and two of his children contracted the disease after drinking contaminated milk and expired juice that are prevalent in local markets.

"Groundwater flooded dozens of homes in villages and caused widespread pollution. Poultry farmers threw dead chickens in canals and drains, which contributed to the spread of the disease," Salem said.

According to the US-based Centers for Disease Control Prevention, people who eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by a person who is shedding Salmonella Typhi bacteria can develop typhoid fever. The disease can also be spread if sewage contaminated with the bacteria enters the water supply.

Once Salmonella Typhi bacteria are eaten or drunk, they multiply and spread into the bloodstream, causing fever and other symptoms, according to the CDC.

Head of the infectious diseases department at the Ministry of Health, Zein al-Abdein Taher, said no typhoid cases have been officially recorded in the village.

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health in Gharbiya, Mohamed Sharshar, denied the reports, saying that lab employees who claimed the results were positive would be interrogated for circulating rumors.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm