Kuala Lumpur General Hospital treating typhoid patients

KUALA LUMPUR - The Kuala Lumpur General Hospital (HKL) has confirmed that it is currently treating patients for typhoid fever and urged members of the public to be cautious and seek medical help if needed.

Consultant physician and infectious diseases specialist at the hospital, Dr Leong Chee Loon said that not all of those being treated by HKL for typhoid are in serious condition.

He was commenting on a statement by the Health Ministry that confirmed that there had been 32 cases of typhoid fever recorded by the Kuala Lumpur Health Department since August this year.

Responding to questions on whether the current outbreak had been due to contaminated ice, Dr Leong insisted that the outbreak was still under investigation and that anything else was merely speculation.

"There could be many factors that caused the disease, for example the cleanliness of stalls and water and ice supplies, but there is just no way of knowing until a thorough investigation has been concluded.

"Since there has been a rise in typhoid cases, we know that we must be cautious.

"Those who show signs of fever, stomach aches and diarrhoea should go to the hospital or clinic immediately for an examination," he said.

He also reminded people to wash their hands with soap before and after eating and also after going to the toilet.

Dr Leong stressed that the public should not have to worry about public toilets as long as cleanliness was maintained.

Typhoid fever is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and is spread by eating food or water contaminated with excreta from an infected person.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, headache and fatigue.

In Kuala Terengganu, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said unscrupulous employers were partly to be blamed for the typhoid fever outbreak.

Such outbreaks could easily spread and infect groups of foreign workers who were put together in large numbers in a house, Dr Subramaniam said yesterday after launching the new block of the Mother and Child Care Centre at Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah.