HOLIDAY SPREAD. The Provincial Health Office of Negros Oriental has cautioned people against contaminated food and water that causes typhoid fever and which can be transmitted from person to person. Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion said cases in 2022 rose by 143 percent compared to the previous year but hoped the trend will slow down after the holidays when people tend to eat out at parties and gatherings. (PNA photo by Judy Flores Partlow)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Typhoid fever cases in Negros Oriental rose by 143 percent last year compared to the figures logged in the previous year, a health official said on Thursday.

The cases from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022 totaled 440 with five deaths while in 2021, there were only 181 infections with no deaths, Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion told the Philippine News Agency.

“It is understandable that the typhoid fever cases rose last year as people started leaving their homes following the easing of Covid-19 quarantine restrictions and had more exposure to other individuals,” Estacion said.

Typhoid fever is caused by contaminated food or water and is spread also through person-to-person contact, she said.

The ages of cases ranged from less than one month to 90 years old, affecting mostly the group of 40-year-olds, which comprised about 34 percent, records from the Provincial Health Office showed.

The majority of the cases were female at 51 percent of the total.

The top five areas with the highest number of typhoid fever cases are Guihulngan City with 94; Dumaguete City, 42; Bayawan City, 41; Ayungon, 31; and Sta. Catalina, 24.

San Jose is the lone municipality with zero typhoid fever cases while 19 other towns and cities had between one and 23 infections.

The five deaths were reported in Guihulngan City with two and in Dumaguete City, Bayawan City, and Bais City, which had one each.

Estacion called on the people to practice proper hygiene, particularly washing of hands after going to the bathroom and before eating, and boiling water before drinking especially if the source is an exposed or leaking pipe, among others.

She is hoping that the cases de-escalate now that the holidays are over and people are no longer eating in other places apart from their own homes. (PNA)