The Salvadorian Ministry of Health reported on February 13 that 73 cases of typhoid fever had been reported in the country since the beginning of the year, an abnormally high rate. To compare, only 56 cases were reported in all of 2017. The disease has been detected in 12 municipalities across six departments: Chalatenango (Dulce Nombre de María and Chalatenango municipalities), La Libertad (Nuevo Cuscatlán), San Salvador (Apopa, Ayutuxtepeque, Mejicanos, Soyapango, Panchimalco), Cuscatlán (San José Guayabal, Oratorio de Concepción), San Miguel (Nuevo Edén de San Juan), and Morazán (Guatajiagua).
Typhoid fever is a potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by Salmonella Typhi, usually contracted via ingestion of contaminated food or water. Symptoms of the disease can include high fever, diarrhea, rash, headache, and abdominal pain. Vaccines are available for specific types of typhoid fever.
The bacteria is most often found in unpasteurized 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, disinfect and/or peel raw fruits and vegetables, wash hands frequently, and seek medical attention if experiencing the above symptoms.