Typhoid fever is an infection caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria. The bacteria live in the bloodstream and intestines of human beings. It spreads through contaminated water and food or through contact with the excreta of an infected individual. Since animals do not carry this disease, the transmission is always from human to human.
1 in 5 typhoid cases can cause death if remained untreated but with treatment, less than 4 cases in 100 turn out to be fatal.
After entering through the mouth, the S.Typhi remains in the intestine for 1 to 3 weeks. Thereafter, it passes through the intestinal wall and makes its way into the bloodstream. I is not muct then spreads to other organs and tissues. Thereh the host’s immune system can do to fight the bacteria because it can sustain within the cells of the host, safeguarded from the immune system.
There are people who are asymptomatic typhoid carriers indicating that they have the bacteria inside of them but do not suffer from its ill effects. And at times, even after the disappearance of the typhoid symptoms, people carry on with the bacteria that may result in the reappearance of the disease again.
The symptoms manifest themselves between 6 and 30 days after being exposed to the bacteria. Fever and rash are the two main symptoms that can be noticed in a patient.The rashes look like rose-colored spots, appearing particularly on the abdomen and neck. Temperature can gradually increase up to 104°F over a period of several days.
Other symptoms of typhoid are:
- Abdominal pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Muscle aches
- Dry cough
A patient may also experience diarrhea, confusion, and vomiting on rare occasions. Becoming delirious or lying exhausted and motionless with eyes half-opened are the warning signs that needs immediate attention.
The diagnosis of typhoid is done through tests on stool, urine and blood samples.
If a severe case of typhoid is left untreated, it can cause intestinal bleeding or splitting of a section of the bowel or the digestive system. This may lead to peritonitis, which is an infection of the tissue lining the inside of the stomach. A perforated intestine means the development of a hole in the large bowel or small intestine. This condition is characterized by leaking of the intestinal content into the abdominal cavity causing nausea, abdominal pain, sepsis, and vomiting. This is a life-threatening complication needing immediate medical attention.
Less common complications include:
- Bladder or kidney infections
- Hallucinations, delirium, paranoid psychosis.
Getting vaccinated is suggested to prevent typhoid. People living or traveling to high-risk areas should get the vaccine. There are two vaccinations available currently that offer the optimum level of protection from the disease. Talk to your doctor to know about the proper course of immunizations.
It is difficult for the government of all the countries at high-risk alert for typhoid to ensure safe drinking water, adequate medical care, and improved sanitation. Thus, preventing typhoid is to be done individually.
- Start with drinking boiled, chemically disinfected or bottled water. Washing fruits, vegetables, and other food items must be cleaned with disinfected water. The same is applicable for the water used to wash mouth after brushing the teeth.
- Completely cooked and preferable hot food is a must.
- Avoid eating street food. Eat only the food that is served hot and salads are a big “No”.
- Do not put ice in your drinks if having it in a restaurant or any food joint.
- It is also important to practice good hand hygiene.
The best way to treat typhoid is by taking antibiotics. A person suffering from typhoid must drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay re hydrated. Within one or two days improvement can be noticed and recovery is expected within 10 days if proper medicines are administered in a timely manner.
In case of a perforated bowel, surgery is performed.
Consult a doctor if typhoid symptoms are noticed. The doctor would probably advice a few lab tests to confirm the diagnosis and begin the treatment.
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