Diseases and Disorders

What is Typhoid? Typhoid Fever

If not treated properly, typhoid can be fatal. Typhoid is spread through contaminated food or water. Typhoid is treatable with antibiotics. After using public toilets, wash your hands. Typhoid is curable if diagnosed early.

Typhoid fever is an infection caused by bacteria called Salmonella typhi. It causes a high fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and chills.

What is Typhoid?

It’s not the same bacterium that causes the food-borne illness of Salmonella. Its primary method of transmission is the oral-fecal 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 headache and loss of appetite. With treatment, most people make a full recovery. But untreated typhoid can lead to life-threatening complications.

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How do People Get Typhoid?

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 fresh outbreaks of typhoid fever for many years.

What are the Symptoms of Typhoid?

The incubation period is usually 1-2 weeks, and the duration of the illness is about 3-4 weeks. Symptoms are;

  • Poor appetite
  • Headaches
  • Generalized aches and pains
  • Fever as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

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.

Complications of Typhoid

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:

  • pneumonia
  • kidney or bladder infection
  • pancreatitis
  • myocarditis
  • endocarditis
  • meningitis
  • delirium, hallucinations, paranoid psychosis

Typhoid Tests and Typhoid 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 which detects serum agglutinins (H and O) in patients’ serum with typhoid and paratyphoid fever.

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  1. Is typhoid deadly?

    Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs. Without prompt treatment, it can cause serious complications and can be fatal. It’s caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi, which is related to the bacteria that cause salmonella food poisoning.

  2. How long does typhoid stay in your body?

    It is usually between seven and fourteen days, but can be as short as three days, or as long as 30 days. Untreated, the illness usually lasts for three to four weeks, but maybe longer sometimes. Symptoms vary from mild to severe and life-threatening.

  3. What are the stages of typhoid?

    There are four clinical stages of enteric fever, each roughly one week, though not all (or any) stages need present in a particular infection. The first stage, when infection is symptomatic, may include malaise, dry coughing, headache, myalgia, and a fever of growing temperature.

  4. Can typhoid happen twice?

    The patient described in the case had two episodes of typhoid fever two months apart. The doctors have labelled the second infection as a relapse. However, relapse usually occurs two to three weeks after resolving fever and occurs in 5% to 10% of patients.

Typhoid Fever Diet Tips

  1. Have small frequent meals.
  2. High intake of carbohydrates, which are easily digestible like soft rice, porridge and fruit custards.
  3. Sufficient fluids like coconut water, lassi, fruit juices and glucose water.
  4. Soft cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes and fruits like apple, banana and oranges.
  5. Light biscuits, bread and jam, thin vegetable soups and thin daals can be had.
  6. Avoid spicy, fried foods, meats, butter and ghee.
  7. Avoid a high-fiber diet and whole grains. 

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