Hyderabad: Typhoid cases refuse to subside even after the monsoon in twin cities. They
are only increasing by the day and doctors blame the spurt in typhoid fevers on the
ever-deteriorating water supply in Hyderabad and its suburbs. Typhoid is an intestinal or
enteric disease spread through the faeco-oral route. It is caused by a bacterium called
Salmonella Typhi, which lives in contaminated water and food.
Hundreds of people have been suffering from typhoid fevers in twin cities. But strangely
enough the State government does not have updated data as most of the hospitals and
private clinics do not report about the typhoid cases treated by them. Every typhoid case
has to be informed to the State government as the typhoid fever, like other enteric
fevers, falls under the Notifiable Diseases Act. Other infectious diseases like cholera,
polio, Hantavirus, bird flu and swine flu also fall under the “notifiable diseases”.
Hyderabad district health and medical officer Dr G Srinivasulu admits that the city has
been witnessing a number of typhoid cases, but argues that the “situation is not
alarming”. Generally, monsoon records higher incidence of typhoid cases but this time,
the problem persists even post-monsoon. Though typhoid can be treated by antibiotics,
doctors warn that Salmonella Typhi is gradually becoming resistance to a number of
Doctors say once Salmonella Typhi enters the body through contaminated water or food, the
bacteria multiply and spread into the bloodstream. The body reacts with fever and other
signs and symptoms including intestinal bleeding, perforation in the intestine, hepatitis
and bronchitis, and even multi-organ infection.
“Earlier, we used to treat typhoid with quinolone class of antibiotics including
ciprofloxacin. Now the medicines do not work. It is also turning resistant slowly to the
powerful cephalosporin class of antibiotics. Typhoid can be prevented quite easily by
simple steps like washing hands, boiling drinking water and covering food items,” says Dr
Aftab Ahmed, specialist in internal medicine, Apollo Hospitals.
The doctors’ blame on poor quality of drinking water supplied through municipal taps is
not without a scientific backing. A study by the Regional Centre for Urban and
Environmental Studies, Osmania University, showed that 40 per cent of water samples
collected in twin cities tested positive for bacterial contamination. “Over last couple
of years there appears to be deterioration in the water supply system in Hyderabad city”,
the OU report pointed out.
Analysis of water samples by the Institute of Preventive Medicine revealed that about 14
per cent of samples in the last six months failed the bacteriological test.
* Drink BIS-certified bottled water or bring tap water to a rolling boil for one minute
before you drink it. Soda (carbonated water) from a reputed company is also safe.
* Make sure the ice mixed in juices and other drinks is made from safe water. When you
are not sure, avoid ice. Also, avoid flavoured ice cubes.
* Always cover the foods. Eat them when they are hot.
* Wash vegetables and fruits before you eat or prepare salads. Extra care should be taken
with green leafy vegetables.
* Wash hands before touching food.
* Avoid street food and that served in unhygienic surroundings.
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