Typhoid Fever – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is a systemic infectious disease associated with fever. Contaminated food and water most commonly cause it.
What causes typhoid fever?
Bacteria Salmonella typhi causes typhoid fever. It spreads through contaminated food, drink, or water. If you eat or drink something that is contaminated with the bacteria, the bacteria enter your body, grow in your intestines and blood, and cause typhoid fever.
Some people become carriers of S typhi and continue to release the bacteria in their stools for years, spreading the disease.
What are the symptoms of typhoid fever?
Early symptoms of typhoid fever include fever, general ill-feeling, and abdominal pain. High fever (103°F, or 39.5°C) and severe diarrhea occur as the disease gets worse.
Some people develop a rash called “rose spots,” which are small red spots on the abdomen and chest.
The following are the other symptoms of typhoid fever:
- Hallucinations (delirium, seeing or hearing things that are not there)
- Attention deficit (difficulty paying attention)
- Severe fatigue
- Slow, sluggish, weak feeling
- Bloody stools
How is typhoid fever diagnosed?
The doctor will perform a physical exam and review your symptoms. A complete blood count (CBC) will be done to check if there is a high number of white blood cells. A blood culture will also be done during the first week of the fever to check if Salmonella typhi bacteria are present.
The doctor may order the following other tests to help diagnose the condition:
- ELISA blood test (to check antibodies to the S typhi bacteria)
- Fluorescent antibody study (to check for substances that are specific to S typhi)
- Platelet count (it may be low)
- Stool culture
How is typhoid fever treated?
Initially, the doctor may administer IV fluids and electrolytes, and may ask you to drink water with electrolyte packets.
The doctor will treat the condition with antibiotics. Usually, this will kill the Salmonella typhi bacteria.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.