Typhoid fever is an acute illness associated with fever caused by the Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi bacteria. It can also be caused by Salmonella paratyphi, a related bacterium that usually causes less severe illness. The bacteria i.e. deposited in water or food by a human carrier and are then spread to other people in the area.
What are the signs and symptoms of typhoid fever?
- Poor appetite
- Abdominal pain
- General aches and pains and weakness
- High fever, often up to 104 f
- Lethargy (if untreated)
- Intestinal bleeding (after 2-3 weeks of the disease)
Let us counter the symptoms with a brief study:
Signs and symptoms are likely to develop gradually — often appearing one to three weeks after exposure to the disease.
Once signs and symptoms do appear, the body likely to experience:
- Fever that starts low and increases daily, possibly reaching as high as 104.9 F (40.5 C)
- Weakness and fatigue
- Muscle aches
- Dry cough
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Extremely swollen abdomen
Lie motionless and exhausted with eyes half-closed in what’s known as the typhoid state
- In addition, life-threatening complications often develop at this time.
- In some people, signs and symptoms may return up to two weeks after the fever has subsided.
When to see a doctor
See a doctor immediately if you suspect to have typhoid fever. Today, a thorough check-up of the body will help understand the complications if any.
- Better yet, find out in advance about medical care, and carry a list of the names, addresses and phone numbers of recommended doctors.
- If the body develops signs and symptoms on returning home, consulting a doctor who focuses on international travel medicine is wise.
- A specialist may be able to recognize and treat the illness more quickly than can a doctor who isn’t familiar with these areas.
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Typhoid fever is caused by virulent bacteria called Salmonella typhi. Although they’re related, Salmonella typhi and the bacteria responsible for salmonellosis, another serious intestinal infection, aren’t the same.
Faecal-oral transmission route
- The bacteria that cause typhoid fever is spread through contaminated food or water and occasionally through direct contact with someone who is infected.
- In developing nations, where typhoid fever is established, most cases result from contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation.
- The majority of people in industrialized countries pick up typhoid bacteria while travelling and spread it to others through the faecal-oral route.
- This means that Salmonella typhi is passed in the faeces and sometimes in the urine of infected people.
- People contract the infection while eating food handled by someone with typhoid fever who hasn’t washed carefully after using the toilet.
- People also come across the infection by drinking water contaminated with the bacteria.
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Even after treatment with antibiotics, a small number of people who recover from typhoid fever continue to harbour the bacteria in their intestinal tracts or gallbladders, often for years.
These people, called chronic carriers, shed the bacteria in their faeces and are capable of infecting others. Although they no longer have signs or symptoms of the disease themselves, they still probe the disease passively.
Typhoid fever remains a serious worldwide threat. Especially in the developing world, affecting an estimated 26 million or more people each year. South America, Africa, Southeast Asia and India have the epidemic disease.
Worldwide, children are at great risk of getting the disease. They generally have milder symptoms than adults do, it is still risky. Living in a country where typhoid fever is rare, the risk increases:
- Highly contagious areas are the mark of disease spreading.
- Having close contact who has recently been infected with typhoid fever
- Drink water contaminated by sewage that contains Salmonella typhi
Typhoid fever diagnosis!
After eating contaminated food or water, the bacteria invade the small intestine and enter the bloodstream temporarily.
- In the bloodstream, the bacteria multiply and this occurs from white blood cells in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow.
- At one point, fever skyrockets amidst the symptoms. Bacteria invade the gallbladder, biliary system, and the lymphatic tissue of the bowel.
- Here, they multiply in high numbers. Through stool samples, one can denote the bacteria has come via the intestinal tract.
- If a test result isn’t clear, blood or urine samples will be taken for diagnosis.
What are the symptoms of typhoid fever?
Some symptoms are easy to miss them in our day-to-day life.
The incubation period is usually 1-2 weeks. The duration of the illness is about 3-4 weeks. The symptoms of typhoid are:
- Chest congestion develops in many people, and abdominal pain and discomfort are common.
- The fever becomes constant.
- Improvement occurs in the third and fourth week in those without complications.
- About 10% of people have recurrent symptoms after feeling better for one to two weeks.
Antibiotics fail to cure typhoid in cases like,
- Poor appetite
- Generalized aches and pains
- Fever as high as 104°F
Typhoid fever treatment!
The 20% fatality rate has reduced after the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics can help cure. The antibiotics kill the bacteria, Salmonella bacteria.
- The death occurred from outnumbered infection, pneumonia, intestinal bleeding, or intestinal perforation.
- Antibiotics have reduced the mortality rate by 1%-2%.
- With appropriate antibiotic therapy, there is usually improvement within one to two days.
- Several antibiotics are effective for the treatment of typhoid fever. Chloramphenicol was the original drug of choice for many years. Other antibiotics have replaced Chloramphenicol. The rare serious side effects can damage the body.
- Antibiotics are prescribed based on the geographical region.
- If relapses occur, patients have retreated with antibiotics.w
What is typhoid fever-like at a glance?
Here are the main things one needs to know about typhoid fever:
- Typhi bacteria causes Typhoid fever.
- Contaminated food or water leads to typhoid.
- Diagnosis of typhoid fever is through Salmonella bacteria present in stool, urine, or blood cultures.
- Antibiotics can help treat fever.
- Symptoms like poor appetite, headaches, generalized aches, pains, fever and lethargy tell that the body is under risk.
- Approximately 3%-5% of patients are carriers of the bacteria after the acute illness.