Typhoid Fever is an acute bacterial infection characterized by high fever. It mostly occurs due to the invasion of the Salmonella enterica, subspecies serovar typhi which is related to the subspecies Salmonella paratyphi A, B or C bacteria, which subsequently lead to the paratyphoid fever. The infection is quite contagious and usually infects humans through contaminated food and water. Also Read: Salmonellosis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
The gram-positive bacteria spreads only through human carriers and is transmitted from person to person due to direct contact with the faeces of an infected person. When a healthy person consumes contaminated food or water, the bacteria enter through the mouth and stays in the intestines for a few weeks and multiplies in the lymphoid tissue. Then, the active bacterium usually comes out of the intestinal walls and enters into the bloodstream and causes bacteremia. Through the bloodstream, the bacteria spread onto other tissues and organs and finally wreak havoc within the body.
Even after the fever settles in the infected person, a few percentage of people become carriers of this harmful bacteria without any concerning symptoms of underlying health anomalies.
Due to decreased immunity, children are more prone to getting this infection than adults. Though it is commonly witnessed in:
- People traveling to places where typhoid is more common. Also Read: Also Read: Contaminated Food Can Lead To Traveller’s Diarrhea
- Having close contact with someone who is infected with typhoid or just recovered or is a carrier
- Working in labs where one might have to handle the disease-causing bacteria
- Drinking water contaminated with sewage
The common signs and symptoms of typhoid fever usually develop within 2-3 weeks after exposure to the bacteria. These symptoms include:
- High fever ranging between 39° to 40° C (103° to 104° F)
- Stomach pain
- Intestinal bleeding
- Poor appetite
- Swollen abdomen
If the symptoms are not taken into consideration and the bacteria is allowed and multiply and infect internally, it can often lead to:
- Kidney/Bladder infection
- Paranoid Psychosis
It is strictly suggested to consult a doctor once you notice any of the initial symptoms to prevent the bacteria from further damaging the internal tissues and organs. The doctor usually performs a thorough physical check-up and acknowledges the patient's travel history.
But he usually confirms the presence of the bacteria by performing blood tests, stool tests, and body fluid cultures.
Treatment options usually involve intaking prescribed antibiotics that not only kill the bacteria but also prevent the underlying health complications and aid in faster recovery. The doctor also suggests hydrating the body by drinking an adequate amount of water, electrolytes and oral rehydration fluids at regular intervals to remedy the acute dehydration in the body.
It is also recommended to immune oneself by taking typhoid preventing vaccines before travelling to a place where this bacterial infection is common and dominant.
One might reduce the chances of getting infected with this potent bacteria by keeping in mind a few of these precautionary details and routine hygiene habits which include:
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
- Avoid raw fruits and veggies
- Choose hot homemade food
- Avoid ice cubes, popsicles unless clearly certain they are made using boiled water.
- Abstain drinking non-treated or street-side tap water
- Avoid eating street food and junk food
- Eat properly cooked meat and eggs