France is launching an in-country investigation into a 17-fold spike of paratyphoid A fever infections among European Union nationals travelling from Cambodia this year, according to a Rapid Risk Assessment issued by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
A systemic disease caused by salmonella, paratyphoid A is commonly spread directly by human-to-human contact, or via contaminated food or water, and causes symptoms including high fever, rash, coughing and sometimes an enlarged spleen.
Though only two cases were recorded to have been imported from Cambodia to the EU in 2012, there have already been 34 reported cases – 20 of them in French nationals alone.
Cases appeared throughout this year and recently spiked in August, pointing to a related and persistent source, the report, dated September 4, says.
“In Asia and Africa, raw shellfish from sewage contaminated waters, raw fruit and vegetables fertilised by night soil and eaten raw are important vehicles” of the bacteria, the report states.
The disease is easily treated with antibiotics.
Despite the unusual increase in cases, preventative measures can easily be undertaken by the public and international travellers, Sonny Krishnan, communications officer for the WHO’s Cambodia office, told the Post yesterday.
“The Ministry of Health is currently investigating the increase in cases and is encouraging everyone to exercise good hygiene and remain aware of clean water sources and food preparation,” he said.
Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.