Typhoid Fever – Causes, Signs, Investigations, Prevention, Treatment, Complication,

What is Typhoid Fever?

Typhoid fever is caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria. It is rare in industrialized countries, however, remains a serious health concern in the developing countries, especially for children. Typhoid fever spreads via contaminated food, water, or through close contact with someone who is infected. Signs and symptoms usually include headache, high fever, abdominal pain, and either constipation or diarrhea. Most people suffering from typhoid start to feel better within a few days of taking antibiotic treatment. Although vaccines against typhoid fever are available, they’re only partially effective. Also, the vaccines are reserved for those who may be exposed to the disease or are traveling to areas where typhoid is common.

Symptoms of Typhoid Fever

The signs and symptoms are likely to develop gradually. Symptoms often appear one to three weeks after exposure to the disease.

Once the signs and symptoms start appearing, a person likely experiences:-

  • Fever, that starts low and increases daily
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Dry cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Rash
  • Swollen abdomen

When to Visit a Doctor?

Consult a doctor immediately if you suspect you have typhoid fever, or you notice any of the above signs and symptoms. A specialist can diagnose and treat your illness more quickly than a doctor who isn’t familiar with these areas.

Causes of Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is caused by malignant a bacteria called Salmonella typhi. The bacteria that cause typhoid fever spreads via contaminated food or water and occasionally through direct contact with someone who is infected. In developing nations, where typhoid fever is established, most cases are the result of these factors along with poor sanitation. The majority of people in industrialized countries pick up the typhoid bacteria while traveling and spread to others via the fecal-oral route. Typhoid Carriers Even after treatment with antibiotics, few people who recover from typhoid continue to harbor the bacteria in their intestinal tracts or gall bladders. These people are called chronic carriers that shed the bacteria in their feces and are capable of infecting others, even though they no longer show signs or symptoms of the disease themselves. Prevent Infecting Others If you are recovering from typhoid fever, these measures can help keep other people from getting infected:-
  • Take your Antibiotics
    Follow your doctor's orders for taking your antibiotics, and make sure you finish the course of the prescription.
  • Wash your Hands Often
    This is the single most important thing you can do to keep it from spreading. Use hot, soapy water, and scrub thoroughly for at least 30 seconds, especially before eating food, or after using the toilet.
  • Avoid Handling Food
    Avoid preparing food for others until your doctor says you can. If you work in the food service industry or a healthcare facility, you will not be allowed to return to work until tests show that you are no longer contagious, or shedding typhoid bacteria.

Dr. Divaanshu Gupta

Dr. Divaanshu Gupta is a cardiac anaesthesiologist in Manipal Hospital, Jaipur. He has done his M.B.B.S. as well as M.D. Anaesthesia from S.M.S. Medical College. He has a vast experience of working in various critical care units of government as well as corporate hospitals.

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