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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.