What is typhoid fever?
Salmonella germs are the cause of typhoid fever, a bacterial infection. Its symptoms, which include fever, headache, abdominal pain, and a rash, are spread by contaminated food and water. It can result in catastrophic problems if untreated. Salmonella is a kind of bacteria that can make people sick from eating. Salmonella germs come in a wide variety of forms, but the two that sicken people most frequently are Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori. These bacteria can produce symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting that normally last from a few days to a week and are typically transferred by contaminated food and drink. It’s crucial to handle food properly, completely prepare meat, and maintain good cleanliness.
What are the typhoid fever symptoms?
The symptoms of typhoid fever typically develop 1-2 weeks after exposure and can include:
- High fever (up to 104°F)
- Weakness and fatigue
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Rose-colored spots on the skin
- Enlarged spleen and liver
In severe cases, typhoid fever can also cause confusion, delirium, and pneumonia. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, such as internal bleeding, perforation of the intestines, and sepsis.
What causes typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella bacteria, which is spread from person to person through contaminated food and water. The most common ways that the bacteria are spread include:
- Consuming food or drinks contaminated with S. bacteria.
- Direct contact with a person who is carrying the bacteria in their bloodstream or feces.
- Consuming food or drinks prepared by someone who has not washed their hands properly after using the toilet.
Other risk factors for typhoid fever include traveling to areas with poor sanitation, working in a job that involves close contact with contaminated food or water, and having a weakened immune system. To prevent the spread of typhoid fever, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly, cooking food thoroughly, and avoiding contaminated food and water.
How common the typhoid fever is?
Typhoid fever is most common in developing countries with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are an estimated 21.7 million cases of typhoid fever and 223,000 deaths from the disease each year, primarily in Asia and Africa. In developed countries, typhoid fever is relatively rare, but it can still occur in people who have traveled to areas where the disease is prevalent. People who are at increased risk of exposure to S. bacteria, such as travelers and people who work with contaminated food or water, are advised to get vaccinated against typhoid fever to reduce their risk of infection.
What are the stages of typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever typically progresses through three stages:
- Incubation stage: This stage lasts for 1-2 weeks after exposure to the bacteria. During this stage, the bacteria are multiplying inside the body, but the person is not yet showing any symptoms.
- Prodromal stage: This stage lasts for a few days and is characterized by the onset of symptoms, such as fever, headache, weakness, and muscle aches. At this stage, the person may also experience loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and a rash.
- Confluent stage: This stage lasts for several days and is characterized by the development of more severe symptoms, such as confusion, delirium, and pneumonia. In severe cases, typhoid fever can lead to serious complications, such as internal bleeding, perforation of the intestines, and sepsis.
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect you have typhoid fever, as early treatment can help prevent serious complications and improve the chances of a full recovery.
What are the risk factors of typhoid?
Millions of individuals are impacted by typhoid fever each year, which is a severe threat to the entire world. Africa and South Asia are the regions with the greatest number of cases or frequent outbreaks. However, cases are reported everywhere, frequently as a result of visitors to and from these regions.
You run a higher risk of contracting typhoid fever if you reside in a nation where it is uncommon:
- Work in or visit places where typhoid fever is prevalent, particularly if you’re going to see relatives or friends. People who are visiting loved ones could experience greater social pressure to consume alcohol or foods that carry greater risks.
- Managing Salmonella enterica serotype typhi germs as a clinical microbiologist.
- Having frequent interaction with a person who is ill or has recently.
Which typhoid stage is risky?
Fourth Stage: At this point, things start to take a severe turn. Abdominal bleeding could result from a severe intestinal perforation. Brain inflammation or encephalitis could develop. Dehydration could happen to the person, intensifying their delirium.
What makes typhoid fever and typhus different from one another?
Typhoid and typhus are two different diseases caused by different bacteria.
It is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi and is usually spread through contaminated food and water. Symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain, and a rash.
Typhus is caused by either Rickettsia typhi (murine typhus) or Rickettsia prowazekii (epidemic typhus) and is spread through the bites of infected fleas. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash.
In general, typhoid is more severe and lasts longer than typhus, but both diseases can be treated with antibiotics.
What tests can be done to diagnose typhoid fever?
There are several tests that can be done to diagnose typhoid fever, including:
- Blood culture: It is the most reliable test, where a sample of blood is taken and cultured in a laboratory to see if it contains the bacteria that causes typhoid fever.
- Widal test: It measures the presence of antibodies to the bacteria in a person’s blood.
- Urine and stool culture: Samples of urine and stool can be tested for the presence of the bacteria.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): This test detects the genetic material of the bacteria in a blood, urine or stool sample.
- Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs): These are simple and quick tests that can detect antigens (proteins) from the bacteria in a blood or stool sample.
It’s important to note that these tests can have false negative results, especially in the early stages of the disease, so a combination of tests may be used for a more accurate diagnosis.
Know about the tips that how to prevent from typhoid fever?
There are several ways to prevent typhoid fever, including:
- Vaccination: A vaccine is available to prevent typhoid fever, which is recommended for those who are traveling to areas where the disease is common.
- Proper hand washing: Regular and thorough hand washing with soap and water can help prevent the spread of the bacteria.
- Safe food and water: Consuming only safely cooked and peeled foods, drinking safe water and avoiding street food can help prevent typhoid.
- Improved sanitation: Access to clean water and improved sanitation systems can reduce the transmission of the bacteria.
- Health education: Raising awareness about the causes and prevention of typhoid fever can help reduce its spread.
- Early diagnosis and treatment: Prompt treatment of infected individuals can help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
It is important to take precautions when traveling to areas with a high risk of typhoid fever and to seek medical attention if symptoms develop.