8 things you need to know about typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is easily treatable, as long as you seek professional help as soon as the symptoms occur.

According to private general practitioner Dr Liew Lee Huat, practising good hygiene is the key to lowering your risk of getting typhoid fever. Important guidelines include washing hands before and after eating, and after going to the toilet. Choose steaming hot food over those that are stored and served at room temperature.

Avoid drinking untreated water and avoid raw fruits and vegetables wherever possible.

Despite the recent spike in the outbreak of cases, there is no reason for panic, said Dr Liew.

A course of antibiotics will normally resolve the situation. For those with severe dehydration, they will need fluid replacement via an intravenous (IV) drip.

If you're recovering from typhoid fever, take care to complete your course of antibiotics, wash your hands often and avoid handling food to keep from spreading the infection to others.

Caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, typhoid fever is spread by ingesting food or water contaminated with excreta from an infected person.

"Contamination usually comes from an infected food handler, who may not have washed his or her hands properly after using the toilet. Eating food handled by this person will up your risk of getting typhoid fever," said Dr Liew.

Not everyone infected with the bacterium will show symptoms of the infection.

A small number of people, known as chronic carriers, continue to harbour the bacteria in their intestinal tracts or gallbladders, sometimes for years after recovering from typhoid fever.

They are still capable of infecting others with bacteria from their faeces, although they no longer have signs or symptoms of the disease themselves.

The symptoms of typhoid fever include abdominal pain, fever, headache and fatigue.

If the infection is severe and left untreated, there may be brain malfunction, shock and occasionally intestinal bleeding and perforation.

If your risk of getting typhoid fever is high, consider getting a typhoid vaccine, said Dr Liew.

Nevertheless, the available vaccines aren't 100 per cent effective and repeat immunisations are required as the vaccine's effectiveness diminishes over time.

Thirty-two typhoid fever cases have since been reported in the last two months, the Health Ministry confirmed. Titiwangsa recorded the most cases with 16, followed by Kepong (eight), Lembah Pantai (four) and Cheras (eight). No deaths have been reported.