Typhoid fever is a type of bacterial infection that’s caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. Symptoms of typhoid fever include: a high fever, stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, headache, and decreased appetite. Typhoid fever can be fatal if it’s not treated. Thankfully, there are antibiotics that can treat the infection.
What is Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid is caused by bacteria called Salmonella typhi (S. Typhi). It’s not the same bacterium that causes the food-borne illness of salmonella. Its primary method of transmission is the oral-faecal route 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 headaches 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 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 recent outbreaks of typhoid fever for many years.
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What are the Typhoid Fever Symptoms?
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 weeks 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.
What are the Complications of Typhoid Fever?
Serious complications are rare, but can include intestinal bleeding or perforations in the intestine. This can lead to 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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Typhoid Fever Diagnosis
- 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 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 that detects serum agglutinins (H and O) in patients’ serum with typhoid and paratyphoid fever.
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