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Auckland typhoid outbreak update 7/4/17

Pubilc health update: Auckland typhoid outbreak

Source: Auckland Regional Public Health Service

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As at 7 April 2017, the number of cases of typhoid in Auckland remains unchanged.

There are still 18 confirmed cases, one probable case and a further two cases under investigation connected with this outbreak. Of these, there are three people currently in hospital as more patients have now been discharged.

The data reinforces ARPHS’ view the outbreak may have plateaued. All cases are connected to the same church group and those considered to be at highest risk of contracting typhoid are being closely monitored by ARPHS. At the moment, there is no evidence of people from outside this group becoming infected.

More cases may come to light as a result of the work ARPHS is doing to trace those who have been in contact with people confirmed as having typhoid. Typhoid has a typical incubation period of 8-14 days but incubation can be up to 80 days. This means cases may emerge over the course of several weeks.

ARPHS continues to work with the church community. This includes engaging with the cases, their contacts and church leaders of this community, prioritising those people with the greatest clinical risk and those at greatest risk of exposure to the bacteria.

Public health services have asked close contacts of typhoid patients who are in settings where there is an increased risk of transmission, such as food handlers, to stand down until they're cleared. Testing usually takes around 24-48 hours to produce a result. Six people have been stood down in the Auckland region. There are around 40 cases a year of typhoid reported in New Zealand from individuals who become infected overseas. It's expected that other cases of typhoid will be detected and treated, but these will be reported as usual through the ESR monthly updates, unless they're linked to this Auckland outbreak, in which case they will be reported in ARPHS’ regular updates.

Clarification of how typhoid spreads

It is important to understand typhoid is only spread by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with faeces or urine from a person who has the illness, or who may be a carrier of the bacteria.

Casual social contact, such as visiting a person in hospital and hugging and kissing them, is not a significant risk to people.

Once people are being effectively treated in hospital, the risk of them spreading the disease is significantly minimised. It can take a number of days of monitoring before they are fully cleared by public health. Once cleared, there is no risk of them spreading the disease.

The usual incubation period for typhoid is 8-14 days, so people who became unwell in the past week could not have contracted the disease by visiting a person associated with outbreak in hospital.

Members of the general public who have concerns should visit their GP, or call Healthline on 0800 611 116. Healthline has translation services available 24/7.

For typhoid information and resources including translations in Samoan, please visit the Auckland Regional Public Health Website http://www.arphs.govt.nz/typhoid-response

ENDS


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