Major step in source research outbreak of typhoid fever emergency shelter asylum seekers Haarlem

Posted on: 18-05-2022 at 12:06 pm
Last modified on: 18-05-2022 at 12:19 pm

GGD Kennemerland has made a major step in the source investigation of the outbreak of typhoid fever on the ship Liberty Ann, which was used as emergency shelter for asylum seekers in Haarlem until 15 April. It has been established that drinking water tanks on the ship adjoin the waste water tank. Through holes in the walls of the waste water tank, contamination of the water in the drinking water tanks could take place.

On April 6, GGD Kennemerland was approached to assess the drinking water system on the Liberty Ann in response to a number of patients. On April 7, 2022, the GGD Kennemerland received a report of a resident of the Liberty Ann with typhoid fever. It is now known that 46 residents and 20 employees of the ship have contracted typhoid fever. Of this group, 25 people have been hospitalized. GGD Kennemerland started the source investigation immediately after the first report. On 15 April, all asylum seekers who stayed on the ship were relocated.

Salmonella Typhi-bacterie

Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. This bacterium is excreted in the faeces and can be carried by the patient for a long time after the symptoms have disappeared.

Drinking water tanks polluted

Further investigation on the ship revealed that the drinking water tanks and the waste water tank have shared walls. The divided walls turned out to have rust spots and holes at the top. This makes it very likely that Salmonella Typhi bacteria entered the drinking water tanks when the waste water tank was filled at a high level. A definitive confirmation must follow from further bacteriological research by the Region Lab Haarlem.

Alternative drinking water supply necessary

Based on these findings, there is currently too much infectious disease risk to use the drinking water tanks and they should no longer be used. The ship can only be used for emergency shelter if there is an alternative to the drinking water supply and if the waste water tank is filled to a low level.

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