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City under typhoid outbreak needs sanitation intervention, researchers say

In a single month the number of reported cases in Breves (PA) climbed from 20 to 46


A vaccine to prevent the disease in the city is currently being studied and should be taken to the Health Ministry

A typhoid outbreak has put the people from Breves (PA), a city in the Marajo group of islands, under alert. The disease, is indeed, endemic in the region, especially due to the terrible sanitation conditions. According to doctor Haroldo Matos, investigator at the Evandro Chagas Institute, the problem can only be solved with a massive intervention project.

Something as the Pará azul (Blue Pará) project, as what happened in Salvador with the Bahia azul (Blue Bahia) project [a set of actions and constructions in sanitation and environment since the 1970s]. Without this intervention, our actions will be one-off, said the researcher.

The urge for hygiene actions owes especially to the diseases transmission form, which occurs via oral-fecal routes, by ingesting water and food contaminated by the feces from carriers of the Salmonella typhi bacteria. If left untreated or diagnosis is too late, the infected patient could develop intestinal bleeding and die.

Dr. Tânia Chaves, also investigator at the Evandro Chagas Institute (ECI), also defends enhancements in local basic sanitation as a measure to contain the diseases spread. She believes this is the main factor leading to the multiplication of the typhoid reports in the Marajó region. In one month, from last November to December, the detected cases climbed from 20 to 46, according to the Para State Public Health Secretary (Sespa).

Among the implemented measures there is explaining the population about the diseases transmission. Besides this, the community health agents have explained local villagers about the use of sodium hypochlorite in drinkable water. Despite explaining about the use of this substance, the adhesion is still low. People have complained about the waters flavor after the treatment, saying it becomes impossible to drink, explained Dr. Tânia.

Dr. Haroldo adds that a vaccine to prevent the disease is under studies in Breves. This intervention has been taken to Sespa representatives and further more, should be taken to the Health Ministry.

Recurring outbreaks

Although concerning, the current situation is not unprecedented in Pará State. In the same Marajo Island, in the city of Anajás, investigations in this way have been conducted, according to Dr. Haroldo. We are also alert to occurrences in the Belem metropolitan area, where an outbreak investigation took place in 2014, he said.

Regarding the recent reports in Breves, the theme as approached in a meeting involving the State Health Secretary and the ECI in last October, when a death owed to the disease had been reported.…