Typhoid fever is a life-threatening, contagious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. It is carried by infected humans in the digestive tract and blood and spreads to others via food and drinking water contaminated by infected feces.
What are the indications?
The indications of typhoid fever typically arise within 5-21 days after ingesting water or food contaminated by Salmonella typhi and can last for up to a month or longer. The common symptoms include the following:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal pain and tenderness
- Dry cough
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fever and chills
- Mood changes
- Diminished appetite
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Fatigue and weakness
What are the causes?
Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. It can enter and infect the body via consumption of contaminated food and water.
Take note that food can become contaminated by the bacteria if washed in contaminated water or touched by an infected individual who was not able to wash hands. Remember that drinking water might become contaminated by sewage that contains the bacteria.
Typhoid fever is often treated with a full course of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin or ampicillin. In severe cases, the treatment might require rehydration using intravenous fluids and electrolyte replacement.
With proper treatment, the symptoms eventually improve within 2-4 weeks. The symptoms might recur if the individual is not fully treated. The individual should take the antibiotics as prescribed and follow up with a doctor for a series of blood and stool tests to ensure that he/she is not contagious.
A small percentage of infected individuals become carriers. It means that the bacteria are present in their intestines and bloodstream and shed in the stool even after the individual does not have any symptoms.