CHITRAL: The incidence of Extensive Drug Resistance (XDR) typhoid in Kalash valley of Rumbur and its adjoining Atani and Ayun villages seems to have evaded the interest and attention of the health department officials both at the local and provincial levels.

Outbreak of XDR typhoid fever was feared in Rumbur valley about two weeks ago when a patient was found to offer resistance to a series of antibiotics, and more patients also poured in from the valley into the District Headquarters Hospital.

Patients also came from Atani and Ayun villages, which are supplied drinking water from Rumbur, making it clear the waterborne disease had spread to the downstream localities.

After the blood-culture test of some patients came out positive for XDR typhoid, the Lower Chitral district health officer reported the matter to the director general health on March 22, who deployed a rapid response team of four doctors.

The team consisting of Dr Mohammad Gul Sartaj, Dr Amir Bakhtiar, Dr Kaleemullah Khan and Dr Musawair had been tasked with conducting a thorough investigation and compiling a comprehensive report.

However, the team has yet to move from Peshawar. Result of the test of water samples taken from the affected areas is yet to be received from Peshawar, which is of prime importance during the investigation.

Sources in the DHQ Hospital told Dawn that so far 53 patients, including children, had shown symptoms of the disease, including high fever, acute body pain, chill and diarrhoea.

They said conjugate vaccination against typhoid would help contain spread of the disease. They added restricting movement of outsiders to the valley was also an effective precautionary measure.

District health officer Dr Fayaz Rumi, however, downplayed the outbreak fears and claimed many blood-culture samples had tested negative for XDR typhoid. He said there was no need for the rapid response team from Peshawar to arrive here on an emergency basis.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2024

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