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Know the symptoms and causes of Typhoid Fever

Know the symptoms and causes of Typhoid Fever
Atefa Noorain
Atefa Noorain
March06/ 2017


Typhoid fever is a common diseased condition caused due to Salmonella typhi bacteria. Typhoid fever is less common in industrialized countries. However, typhoid fever remains as a serious health condition especially for children that require immediate medical attention.

Contaminated food and water can spread the infection to the healthy individuals. If you are in close contact with the infected individual, you are more likely to get infection. Mostly people recover with typhoid fever easily, others need medical assistance to complete recover from typhoid.

Typhoid Symptoms

The symptoms associate with typhoid is categorized into two based on initial and late illness.

Initial illness symptoms include the following:

  • Fever that increases rapidly and may reach as high as 104.9F
  • Severe headache
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Dry cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen abdomen

The later illness symptoms are visible only when it is left untreated and may cause severe weakness and you may feel exhausted and motionless when you lie down.

Typhoid Fever Causes

The main cause of typhoid fever is Salmonella typhi. The bacterium that is responsible for causing typhoid fever is spread through contaminated food or water and rarely through direct contact. This bacterium is usually spread through fecal-oral route.

Fecal-oral transmission route

Salmonella typhi is generally passed in the feces of an infected individual and sometimes in the urine of an infected individual. When you eat food prepared by an infected individual who hasn’t wash his/her hands carefully after using rest rooms can cause typhoid fever. When you drink water contaminated with bacteria, you are at high risk of infection.

Majority of the people in industrialized countries can get infected with the bacterium while traveling and can spread the infection through the fecal-oral route.

Typhoid carriers

There are a small number of people who are recover from typhoid fever completely and rest still carry the bacteria and act as carriers. Even after using certain antibiotics there are a small number of people who harbor this bacterium in their intestinal tracts or gallbladder. The people who carry the bacterium are generally referred as chronic carriers as they shed bacteria in the urine and feces. These chronic carriers are capable of infecting healthy individuals, although they themselves no longer have the signs or symptoms of typhoid fever.

Risk factors of Typhoid fever

Around 26 million people suffer from typhoid fever every year and are considered as a worldwide threat. Typhoid fever is endemic in India and many other countries. Children are generally at high risk of infection. Children generally show milder symptoms when compared to adults.

You are at increased risk of typhoid fever when you:

  • Work in or travel to places where typhoid fever is endemic
  • Work as a microbiologist and handle the bacterium on a daily basis
  • Are in close contact with an infected individual
  • Eat or drink foods that contains the causative organism S.typhi

Typhoid Fever Prevention

Typhoid can be prevented by following the simple guidelines when traveling to high-risk areas:

  • Wash your hands soon after using rest rooms and before eating and prepare food.
  • Use alcohol based hand sanitizer to kill the germs present on your hands when water is not available.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating or preparing food.
  • Prefer hot foods as it is less likely to be contaminated
  • Avoid street food as the risk of contamination is more.

Atefa Noorain
Atefa Noorain

Atefa Noorain, (Microbiologist) former Head of the Department of Life Sciences, Assistant Professor of Microbiology at Sujatha Degree College for Women. She worked as an Associate Research Analyst at Thomson Reuters and an Associate Editor of two research journals. She has presented her research work in 3 International Conferences. She has written articles for national journals and international journals. She had been felicitated as a Young Speaker in the last conference. She has worked on Nanoparticles as a part of her research project and won the Best Scientist of the Day award.

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