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Reported “Higher than usual” number of Enteric (Typhoid) Fever cases based on historical data

For Immediate Release – Issued by Garden Route District Municipality 21 February 2022

Though cases of enteric fever (typhoid fever) are reported annually, the recently reported increase in the number of laboratory-confirmed cases in the Western Cape was interpreted incorrectly as new cases. The cases in the province were reported to be higher than in previous years. However, these reports are based on cumulative historical data as set out below.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) recorded the following annual number of cases:
• 31 in 2020• 48 in 2021• 7 in 2022
Since 2020 to date, three clusters were identified in the province which have now been reported by the NICD. In these clusters:
• 14 cases were recorded in the Metro with the first case reported in November 2020 and the most recent case in January 2022,• 11 in Cape Winelands with the first case reported in July 2020 and the most recent case in May 2021, and• 12 in the Garden Route with the first case reported in August 2020 and the most recent case in December 2021.
“It is important to note that these reported clusters are based on historical data as per 2020 and 2021 data.*

Whole-genome sequencing of enteric fever isolates, as part of the health responses, has identified specific ‘strains’ responsible for separate clusters in these districts, confirming that in those districts cases are linked and there is ongoing local transmission.
These local outbreaks of enteric fever are amidst an annual surge of diarrhea, which occurs annually at this time. Cases of enteric are fever being managed by Department of Health in specific areas, and we urge the public to be assured that there is no cause for panic.

Read the full media release here: