Health officials in El Salvador are on alert due to an abnormally high number of typhoid fever cases reported in recent weeks (as of February 8). According to the Salvadorian Institute of Public Health (ISSS), case rates are high nationwide.
Typhoid fever is a potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by Salmonella Typhi, usually contracted through ingestion of contaminated food or water. Symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, rash, high fever, and abdominal pain. Symptoms occur between six and 30 days after exposure to the disease. Vaccines are available for specific types of typhoid fever.
The bacteria is most often found in dairy products (e.g. milk, cheese, ice cream), shellfish, uncooked vegetables, eggs, and tap water.
Individuals in El Salvador are advised to only consume bottled or treated water, eat thoroughly-cooked foods, thoroughly wash and/or peel raw fruits and vegetables, and seek medical attention if experiencing the above symptoms.