Taipei 101 in Taipei City, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps
Taipei 101 in Taipei City, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A married Indonesian immigrant to Taiwan and her elder son contracted typhoid fever during a family visit to the woman’s homeland last month, according to the Taiwanese Centers for Disease Control.

The family of four – the woman, her Taiwanese husband, and their two sons – visited Indonesia between August 6 and 19, the China Daily News reported.

Between August 20 and 30, the wife was reportedly ill with abdominal bloating and diarrhea, and consulted a doctor three times, with examination results showing she had contracted Salmonella Typhi bacteria.

Meanwhile, her elder son presented symptoms of sustained mild fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea and abdominal bloating from August 31, and a doctor confirmed the diagnosis of typhoid fever on September 4.

Given that they had foreign travel records during the incubation period of typhoid fever – usually between eight and 14 days – the two infections were classified as imported cases.

The Centers for Disease Control learned that while the family were at the Indonesian home they drank only bottled water; however, they did eat home-grown vegetables that had been irrigated with unboiled water from a nearby well, which could have been how they contracted the disease.

Typhoid bacteria are passed in the feces and urine of infected persons. The bacteria can then contaminate food, water or beverages and infect those who consume such contaminated items.

According to statistics, as of September 9, there had been 11 confirmed cases of typhoid fever in Taiwan so far this year, two of which were locally contracted while the rest were imported – four from Indonesia, two from India, and one case each from Myanmar, the Philippines and Cambodia.