HomeGeneral MedicineTyphoid Fever – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Typhoid Fever – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Give your favorite paani-puri and icy jaljeera from that roadside vendor a miss to protect yourself from typhoid. Roadside food which is typically unsanitary, could well be contaminated by Salmonella Typhi, a notorious bacterium known to cause typhoid fever.

What is Typhoid?

Typhoid fever is a disease that is transmitted through the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the faeces of an infected individual, which contain the bacteria Salmonella Typhi.

How does Typhoid Spread?

Oral transmission through food and drinks handled by the person who sheds the bacteria through stool

Hand-to-mouth transmission by using a contaminated toilet and then neglecting hand hygiene

Oral transmission via sewage contaminated water

Signs and Symptoms of Typhoid:

In the early stages of the disease, one will experience common symptoms such as fever, fatigue, malaise (a feeling of general discomfort) and abdominal pain. After an incubation period of 10 to 14 days (when the bacteria enters the bloodstream) there will be inflammation in the large and small intestines, and the following symptoms will appear:

  • Fatigue and high grade fever with chills
  • Loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and occasionally, bloody stools
  • Nosebleed, severe headache, and sore throat
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Some develop a rash called “rose spots” (small red spots on the belly and chest)

Diagnosing Typhoid

The following tests can be performed to diagnose typhoid:

  • Complete blood count
  • Stool culture test
  • Widal test (an in vitro test whereby bacteria causing typhoid fever are mixed with serum containing specific antibodies obtained from an infected individual).

Treating Typhoid

Antibiotics such as ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or ciprofloxacin are usually prescribed; in addition to the symptomatic treatment for alleviating fever and aches by antipyretics and analgesics.

If untreated, typhoid can lead to many complications:

  • Intestinal haemorrhage and perforation
  • Peritonitis
  • Kidney failure

Dietary Recommendation for a Person with Typhoid

  • Eat small meals at frequent intervals
  • Electrolyte and fluid levels must be maintained
  • One must have a high protein and low fibre diet
  • Bland and soft diet
  • Fried, fatty, and spice food must be avoided

How to Prevent Typhoid?

Now oral and injectable vaccines are available to acquire short term immunity against the disease. In addition, practicing safe eating habits and maintaining hygiene is strongly recommended

Some quick facts on Typhoid.

Typhoid fever is not related to the disease typhus (a tick-borne infection), which has a similar sounding name. · It is a common disease in developing and underdeveloped countries. · Unhygienic conditions and handling of eatables with dirty hands is the prime reason for its spread. · Some individuals may have had typhoid earlier and been cured but may still be harbouring and shedding the bacteria in stools and these individuals are carriers Diagnosis is by stool test and treatment needs to be given to eradicate the organism from the carrier especially if he or she handles food . This is why stool tests are often mandatory for those working with food.

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