Fiji Times

SUVA, Fiji (April 16) - Reports of a typhoid outbreak should not come as a surprise to anyone but rather it should set alarms ringing at the widespread disruption to life this dreaded disease could cause.

We might live in the new millennium but we are just as susceptible to such killers as our ancestors were.

For months now, typhoid and a number of water-borne diseases have been awaiting an opportunity to break out.

The failure of our water supply system was, and remains, a precursor to just such an outbreak, for as water becomes scarce there is always a danger that people will ignore the rules of hygiene in the rush to be the first to gain access to this commodity of life.

The problem has been exacerbated by the spate of tropical depressions hovering near us and bringing almost continuous rain for the past month.

They have resulted in damaging floods, the after effects of which include the possible outbreak of diseases like typhoid and leptospirosis.

Already more than 9,000 people in the North are anxiously waiting for health authorities to give the all clear so they can resume normal life.

In the meantime all large gatherings of people, for whatever reason, are banned.

Imagine if the disease was to erupt in the greater Suva area or in any densely populated area where it would wreak havoc on the health of tens of thousands of people and impact on the labor force at a time when we can least afford it, not that we can ever afford to allow such outbreaks to occur.

People seeking treatment would overrun health services.

Yet the simplest of precautions will go a long way in staving off an outbreak and easing the burden on health services.

The spread of this contagious fever is literally in each of our hands.

Warnings from health authorities can only do so much. Now it is up to the people.

This is a time for everyone to follow the simple rules of hygiene.

Boiling all water and washing hands properly before and after handling food are just two ways typhoid's spread can be curtailed.

Typhoid has lived with man since time immemorial. It is spread by contaminated food, drink, or water.

Early symptoms are generalized and include fever, malaise and abdominal pain. As the disease progresses, the fever becomes higher and diarrhea becomes prominent. Weakness, profound fatigue, delirium, and an acutely ill appearance develop.

Early treatment can lead to a cure but delay causes death.

Taking the right precautions and seeking early treatment is the only way we can collectively stop this scourge from spreading.

It is our duty to ensure everything possible is done to halt the outbreak in its infancy.

If we fail to do so, we do so at our peril.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment