Typhoid

Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is an infection that causes diarrhea and a rash. It is most commonly due to a type of bacterium called Salmonella typhi (S. typhi). According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) almost 21.5 million people in developing countries contract typhoid each year.

CAUSES

Typhoid is one of the most common communicable diseases in India that is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. Also called as enteric fever or typhoid fever, it spreads easily through contaminated water, unhygienic food and drinks.
The bacterium is carried by the infected people in their intestine and bloodstream and it passes through the urine and feces. The infection is usually spread when sewage water gets mixed with drinking water and it is consumed or when an individual consumes any food or water handled by an infected person.

SYMPTOMS

It usually takes 1 to 3 weeks time for patients to develop typhoid symptoms after exposure to the bacteria. The duration of the disease is 3 to 4 weeks depending upon the severity of the disease (mild or severe) with the normal incubation time is 7 to 14 days. The symptoms are:

  • Headaches
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • High fever (103 degree F)
  • Lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Enlarged spleen & liver
  • Rose-colored spots on the chest
  • Chest congestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Generalized pain and weakness

Here is a detailed information on seven warning symptoms of typhoid.

DIAGNOSIS

Your medical professional will conduct a thorough physical examination to look out for the symptoms and based on it the clinical tests required to undergo will be recommended. Also, a detailed travel as well as medical history will be conducted by your doctor to assess your exposure to the bacteria.

  • CBC– If you are suffering from the disease, your complete blood count will show an increased white blood cell (WBC) count.
  • Blood culture – Blood culture done during the initial phase of the disease (in the first week) shows S. typhi bacteria.
  • ELISA – A recent diagnostic test, ELISA urine test is done to look out for the bacteria causing the disease.
  • Fluorescent antibody study – In this study, any substances that are specific to the bacterium are looked for.
  • Platelet Count – Platelet count in case of the person affected by the disease is usually low.
  • Stool culture – It is done to determine the presence of the bacterium in the feces.

TREATMENT

Antibiotics such as ciproflaxin or ceftriaxone are generally prescribed to kill the bacteria. However, long-term use of these drugs have made some of the bacteria antibiotic-resistant and hence, your medical professional will go through current options before choosing one.

Additional treatment options include drinking lots of fluids (uncontaminated ones) to keep one hydrated and having diet rich in nutrients.

COMPLICATIONS

Possible complications that may result include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Severe GI bleeding
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Peritonitis

PREVENTION

Typhoid can be easily prevented by following some simple tips:

  • Ensuring proper hygiene and sanitation will definitely shield you against getting infected by the bacteria.
  • Persistent hand washing to keep the bacteria at bay.
  • Careful preparation of food as the bacteria spreads with feces coming in contact with drinking water and food.
  • Consume hot and fresh foods as high temperature hinders the growth of bacteria.
  • Avoid eating raw veggies and fruits & also drinking untreated or contaminated water.
  • Keep all your household items (especially in the kitchen) properly clean and sanitized.
  • In case you are travelling to any part of the world that put you at high risk of getting infected with typhoid then vaccination is the best option available.

7 warning symptoms of typhoid

The monsoons are an invitation for several infections, typhoid being one of the major infectious diseases that you need to watch out for. Caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, typhoid spreads easily through contaminated food and water. If you have recently had food or water from an unhygienic place, look out for these symptoms.

  1. High fever: Once the pathogen starts multiplying after gaining entry into your system, the body increases temperature as its primary defense to kill them either directly, or through the action of certain immune cells that show improved function with elevated body temperature. The typical changes in the pattern of fever are a key indicator in suspecting typhoid. Fever is accompanied by chills and the temperature rises in a step-wise fashion over a period of 2-3 days and then reaches a peak of 103-104 degrees F. This fever may persist for 2 weeks or more. There could be variations in temperature at different times during the day with a high possibility of reaching the peak at the same time during the day.
  2. Headache: Moderate to severe headache may be common as the fever rises and drops throughout the day.
  3. Lethargy: Increase in body temperature inactivates digestive enzymes. So, you may not feel hungry and you may even feel full soon after having a small portion size. Loss of appetite causes generalized weakness and fatigue and feelings of lethargy.
  4. Enlarged spleen & liver: Spleenomegaly or enlarged spleen and hepatomegaly or enlarged liver is usually seen after a week of illness and remains evident as the temperature remains elevated throughout the day. This is especially seen in children suffering from typhoid.
  5. Rose-colored spots: One week after the symptoms set in, careful physical examination may reveal peculiar spots on the chest and stomach. Clinically, these are non-tender lesions that occur when the causative pathogen S. typhi infiltrates the endothelial cells of skin capillaries. A biopsy of these spots may therefore show the presence of these pathogens in the lesions.
  6. Diarrhea and vomiting: Most of the patients experience diarrhea or loose motions initially. In fact, they may even present as a typical case of acute gastroenteritis to a local health clinic. Inflammation of the abdominal lining can even cause gastrointestinal bleeding, which may result in dark, bloody stools. In some cases, usually the uncomplicated ones, vomiting may also be seen.
  7. Abdominal pain: With diarrhea and vomiting, stomach pain and cramps also begin. Invasion of the stomach wall by the pathogens can cause severe pain. At this point examination of the abdomen may reveal tenderness and swelling.

If you have any of these symptoms, get a blood test done immediately to detect the presence of typhoid for faster recovery.

Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is an infection that causes diarrhea and a rash. It is most commonly due to a type of bacterium called Salmonella typhi (S. typhi). According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) almost 21.5 million people in developing countries contract typhoid each year.