Typhoid is caused by bacteria called Salmonella typhi (S. typhi). It’s not the same bacterium that causes the food borne illness Salmonella. Its main method of transmission is the oral-fecal route, generally spreading in contaminated water or food. It can also be passed through direct contact with an infected person. Typhoid fever is a serious bacterial infection that easily spreads through contaminated water and food. Along with high fever, it can cause abdominal pains headache, and loss of appetite. With treatment, most people make a full recovery. But untreated typhoid can lead to life-threatening complications.
How Do People Get Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is contracted by drinking or eating the bacteria in contaminated food or water. People with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through stool, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. Contamination of the water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. The bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage.
About 3%-5% of people become carriers of the bacteria after the acute illness. Others suffer a very mild illness that goes unrecognized. These people may become long-term carriers of the bacteria even though they have no symptoms and be the source of new outbreaks of typhoid fever for many years.
What Are the Symptoms of Typhoid Fever?
The incubation period is usually 1-2 weeks, and the duration of the illness is about 3-4 weeks. Symptoms are;
- Poor appetite
- Generalized aches and pains
- Fever as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit
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. Relapses are actually more common in individuals treated with antibiotics
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Complications of Typhoid
Serious complications are rare but can include intestinal bleeding or perforations in the intestine. This can lead to a life-threatening bloodstream infection (sepsis). Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain.
Other complications are:
- kidney or bladder infection
- delirium, hallucinations, paranoid psychosis
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- Typhidot Test is a rapid serological test for the diagnosis of typhoid fever. Typhidot test is a dot ELISA kit that detects IgM and IgG antibodies against the outer membrane protein (OMP) of the Salmonella typhi. The typhidot test becomes positive within 2-3 days of infection and separately identifies IgM and IgG antibodies. The test is based on the presence of specific IgM and IgG antibodies to a specific 50KD OMP.
- The Widal test is one method that may be used to help make a presumptive diagnosis of enteric fever, also known as typhoid fever. Although the test is no longer commonly performed. Widal Test is an agglutination test which detects the presence of serum agglutinins (H and O) in patients serum with typhoid and paratyphoid fever.
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