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Typhoid Fever - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

Typhoid Fever in Urdu

یہ ایک خاص قسم کے بیکٹیریا کی وجہ سے پھیلنے والی بیماری ہے جو کہ درد، بخار، قنض اور پیٹ درد جیسی علامات کا باعث بن سکتی ہے۔  ترقی پذیر ممالک میں یہ مرض بچوں میں عام ہے جو کہ آلودہ کھانے اور پانی کے ذریعے پھیل سکتا ہے۔ اس بیماری کی وجہ بننے والے بیکٹیریا کو سالمونیلا ٹائیفی کہا جاتا ہے جب کہ یہ سالمونیلا پیرا ٹائیفی کی وجہ سے بھی ہو سکتی ہے۔  ٹائیفائیڈ سے متاثرہ افراد  سے یہ مرض دوسروں میں منتقل ہو سکتا ہے۔  ہر سال کم و بیش اکیس ملین افراد اس بیماری کا شکار ہوتے ہیں جن میں کم از کم دو لاکھ افراد لقمہ اجل بن جاتے ہیں۔ ٹائیفائیڈ کے جراثیم چھوٹی آنت کے ذریعے خون میں شامل ہو جاتے ہیں اور جگر، سپلین، اور ہڈی کے گودے میں ان کی افزائش کے بعد یہ دوبارہ سے خون میں شامل ہو کر علامات کا باعث بنتے ہیں۔  اس بیماری کو سنگین صورتحال اختیار کرنے سے روکنے کے لیے باقاعدہ علاج از حد ضروری ہے۔

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Summary about Typhoid Fever in English

Typhoid or “enteric fever” is a bacterial infection caused by contaminated dietary intake. Gastrointestinal inflammation, hyperpyrexia, chills, or body aches indicate it. Due to its contagious nature, patients require immediate treatment.  

What are the causes of typhoid fever?

The Salmonella Typhi bacterium causes typhoid fever. It can enter the patient’s body in the following ways:  

  • Intake of infected water or food

  • Direct contact with the contaminated feces

  • Poor sanitation, improper waste disposal, inadequate sewage systems, or unavailability of clean water for personal hygiene

  • Direct contact with the infected person via skin or sharing utensils

Who is more susceptible to typhoid fever?

The following group of people are liable to typhoid fever:

  • Residents of or individuals traveling to areas with poor sanitation and limited access to pure water 

  • Immunodeficient people, specifically those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or medical conditions

  • Patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy 

  • Children, notably those under the age of five

  • Besides these groups, anyone can contract typhoid fever if exposed to the bacteria. Preventive measures can lower the risk of infection in both high-risk and low-risk groups.

What are the types of typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever is categorized into the following two types:

  • Typhoid Fever: The globally common disease is caused by the Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi bacterium. Patients experience severe symptoms and without treatment, complications arise. Vaccinations can reduce the chances of infection.

  • Paratyphoid Fever: The uncommon infection is caused by Salmonella enterica serotypes Paratyphi A, Paratyphi B, and Paratyphi C bacterium. Its symptoms are minor but may worsen your condition if left untreated. There are no available vaccinations for the disease. 

How is typhoid fever diagnosed?

To diagnose typhoid fever, healthcare professionals usually opt for these methods:

  • Physical examination: Patients are physically examined for any signs such as abdominal pain or skin rash.

  • Blood tests: Antibody tests like the Widal test or typhoid IgM/IgG antibodies are carried out using blood samples. 

  • Stool Culture: In some cases, stool sampling is performed for the identification of the disease-causing agents.  

In any case, it is essential to consult a top-experienced infectious doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

What is the treatment for typhoid fever?

  • Typhoid fever is generally treated with over-the-counter medications including analgesics and antibiotics. The dosage of these drugs and their treatment duration depends on the severity of the illness, the patient's age, and medical history. 

  • Resting and a nutritious diet can optimize the healing process. 

  • Hospitalization provides medical attention and care to critically ill patients.

Which preventive measures should be taken to avoid typhoid fever?

Vaccination is the only long-term measure to prevent typhoid. Two vaccines namely Ty21a and Vi polysaccharide capsular vaccine are scientifically proven to be effective for the said purpose. 

Symptoms of Typhoid Fever

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of typhoid are;

  • High fever (up to 104°F)

  • Chills

  • Fatigue and weakness 

  • Abdominal pain

  • Body and joint aches 

  • Constipation or diarrhea 

  • Rashes (in some cases)

However, in severe cases, if the disease progresses, it may lead to other serious side effects like confusion or altered mental status, and may even lead to death.

Risk Factors of Typhoid Fever

Typhoid is a serious illness affecting millions of people all around the world. The following risk factors increase your chances of contracting the bacteria, 

  • Exposure to the bacteria Salmonella Tyhphae (for example, while working in clinical or laboratory settings).

  • Traveling to areas with a high prevalence of typhoid cases.

  • Consuming contaminated food or water. 

  • Being in high-risk areas - some areas of the world are more prone to the spread of typhoid infections, including South East Asia, South America, and the Indian Subcontinent. 

Preventive Measures of Typhoid Fever

The countries that have more inhibited access to drinkable and clean water and cleaning facilities tend to report having more cases of typhoid. Prevention of typhoid includes vaccination, especially when journeying to any place where there is a higher risk for typhoid. These would help in preventing the bacteria that causes typhoid from causing any serious damage. However, it is necessary to adopt clean eating and drinking habits as the vaccines might not be effective all the time.

Furthermore, it is important to identify places where contamination could occur. People could then avoid drinking from those places.

There are some other things or habits which will reduce the risk of infection as well. These include drinking water that has been bottled and carbonated, being aware of who is handling your food other than yourself, not eating street food or cold food and not putting ice cubes in a drink. Other measures include not eating vegetables or fruits raw. If bottled water is unavailable, the water should be boiled for at least 60 seconds.

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