Home Health Typhoid Fever: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Typhoid Fever: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Typhoid, also known as typhoid fever or enteric fever, is an infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi .

Typhoid infects millions of people around the world every year, and about 200,000 of them die. The number of people infected with typhoid fever is very low in North America, but typhoid fever is common in developing countries.

Typhoid is usually curable, but some bacterial strains become more resistant to antibiotics. Most North Americans who contract typhoid are infected.

Without treatment, 10% to 16% of those infected will die of typhoid. This proportion drops to 1% when people are treated quickly.

Causes of Typhoid

Typhoid is usually transmitted by water or food, in much the same way as cholera. Infected individuals excrete live bacteria in their stool and urine. They are usually known to be safe and do not know that they should take special precautions. If they do not wash their hands properly, the typhoid bacillus may be transmitted to food or water there, another person. It can also be passed on from one person to another person.

About 3% of infected people, whether treated or not, become asymptomatic carriers of Salmonella typhi . This means that they continue to pass in their bodies for at least a year, and often for life, without feeling any symptoms of typhoid. There is a small number of typhoid carriers in all countries. Even Canada and the United States report dozens of cases of local typhoid transmission each year, but in these countries most cases occur among travelers who are already sick when they arrive.

Symptoms of Typhoid

Symptoms usually appear 1 to 2 weeks after infection, but can be taken to 3 weeks to develop. Typhoid usually causes high and sustained fever, often up to 40 ° C (104 ° F) and extreme exhaustion.

Other common symptoms are:

  • constipation;
  • stomach loavesa
  • sore throat
  • headaches;
  • loss of appetite
  • cough.

Among the rarer symptoms are:

  • delirium;
  • diarrhea;
  • bleeding from the rectum
  • temporary pink spots on the trunk and chest.

Treatment of Typhoid

With antibiotic treatment, the symptoms begin to regress after 5 to 7 days, but they continue to be treated for several weeks, and more than 10% of untreated people can die.


A small number of people who recover from typhoid may have recurrence of their symptoms a few weeks later. The second access tends to be less severe and disappears quickly after a new treatment.

Many people suffer from mild intestinal bleeding, which is only important in a small minority of cases. The main danger of typhoid is the perforation of the small intestine it causes, through which bacteria spread into the abdominal cavity, causing peritonitis, often fatal.

Other complications of typhoid occur when large amounts of bacteria enter the bloodstream, causing bacteremia . They can reach the lungs, causing pneumonia, or the brain envelope ( meningitis ), bones ( osteomyelitis ), heart valves ( endocarditis ), kidneys ( glomerulonephritis ), genital or urinary tract, or muscles . A hepatitis (liver inflammation) is another possible complication

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