Health Department Denies Typhoid Outbreak In Tawau, Confirm 1 Dead

Poor sanitation and poor hygiene are among the chief factors for outbreaks of typhoid. -Internet photo
Poor sanitation and poor hygiene are among the chief factors for outbreaks of typhoid. -Internet photo

TAWAU – Allegations of a typhoid outbreak emanating from the Tawau Tanjung fish market are not true, said Tawau Health officer, Dr G Navindran.

Christina Rundi
Christina Rundi

He said there were seven endemic cases of typhoid fever recorded in the district, while Sabah Health Department Dr Christina Rundi confirmed there was one case involving death.

“The seven cases detected involved locals but they were found in different areas and were not related to one another including claims the outbreak purportedly came from the Tanjung Tawau fish market,” he was reported saying by Bernama Tuesday.

BorneoToday had earlier Tuesday reported a rumour of a typhoid outbreak in Tawau went viral via WhatsApp and that there were six cases and one death from the disease which was believed to be from the fish market, but said the source could not be confirmed.

Dr Christina in a statement said that there were only sporadic cases of typhoid in the district and not an outbreak as claimed, though she confirmed that there was a death involving one of the cases.

On the dissemination of the wrong information, Dr Navindran said the health office would be making a police report as the matter had impacted the economic and social activities of the Tawau residents.

“As a result of the wrong information, the people are afraid to buy fish at the market when the cases recorded were completely unrelated to the market.

“What was shown in the media was a regular health check conducted on fishmongers and not the fish, and if there is an outbreak, we will announce accordingly,” he added.

When asked on the seven cases, he said a youth was believed to have died after contracting the disease and the matter was still being investigated.

“The investigation will be completed in two to three days and we cannot make any conclusions on the incident, it could be that the patient may have been infected for sometime and did not seek hospital treatment immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Navindran said typhoid could easily be cured in its early stages at health facilities in the state.

“A patient can be infected through the lack of personal hygiene such as taking food contaminated with typhoid bacteria,” he said.

According to him, the disease is very infectious and the patient will experience fever, stomach ache and headache which will persist for several weeks.

Last year, there were six typhoid cases recorded in the district.

Meanwhile, Dr Christina added the department has also checked the health status people that were close with patients and disinfected their houses.
Health awareness programme on the disease are also being conducted among the public.

In the past 10 years, Sabah recorded between 37 and 96 cases annually.