Typhoid Fever: Symptoms and Treatment

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Typhoid fever is a condition caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria and is rarely found in developed nations. Despite that, it’s still considered a dangerous threat to people in developing nations, especially children. The disease that causes the fever spreads through water or food contaminated with someone infected with the illness. Typically, symptoms and signs include everything from headaches and fever to abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The majority of patients who suffer from typhoid fever feel better within days of beginning an antibiotic treatment, though some may die due to complications.

Risk Factors for Typhoid Fever

Like many health conditions, there are a few risk factors that may indicate if you’re at risk of developing the illness. For starters, the fever is more common in developing parts of the world, such as India and Africa. Additionally, children are more at risk. Other risk factors include the following:

  • You travel to or work in areas where typhoid fever is already established.
  • You work in a job that involves handling Salmonella typhi bacteria.
  • You recently came in contact with an infected person.
  • You consume water or food contaminated with Salmonella typhi.

Causes of Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever results from contamination by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. However, it’s important to note that Salmonella typhi is not the same bacteria responsible for salmonellosis, the bacteria that causes a potentially life-threatening intestinal infection.

Symptoms of Typhoid Fever

If you have typhoid fever, you may experience the following symptoms that develop within one to three weeks after exposure:

  • High fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dry cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Rash
  • Swollen abdomen

As the fever progresses, you may also experience more serious symptoms, including the following:

  • Becoming delirious
  • Lying motionless in typhoid State with eyes half-closed

Diagnosis of Typhoid Fever

If you think you may have typhoid fever, schedule an appointment with your doctor for a diagnosis. During your checkup, your doctor may perform a physical exam and run through your travel and medical history. Additionally, your doctor may collect a blood or tissue sample to analyze it for Salmonella typhi.

Treatment of Typhoid Fever

If you’re diagnosed with typhoid fever, your doctor may recommend antibiotic therapy. In fact, to this day, antibiotic therapy is the only effective form of treatment for typhoid fever. Some of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics include the following:

Despite being some of the most effective antibiotics for typhoid fever, long-term use may result in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. In addition to antibiotics, drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration is important and helps fight fever and diarrhea.

Prognosis of Typhoid Fever

Without treatment, typhoid fever may last up to a month, and the death rate may be as high as 30%. Antibiotic treatment greatly improves your chances of making a full recovery.

Complications of Typhoid Fever

Left untreated, typhoid fever may result in a few complications, including intestinal perforations and bleeding. If this happens, you may have to undergo surgery. Other less common complications including the following:

  • Myocarditis
  • Endocarditis
  • Bladder infections
  • Kidney infections
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Psychiatric issues, including hallucinations and delirium
  • Pancreatitis