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What is typhoid fever? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Typhoid fever is characterized by a bacterial infection. It particularly affects people in developing countries. Effective treatment and a preventive vaccine exist against this disease.

Definition of typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is caused by a bacterial infection, including sepsis related to this infectious agent (infection of the whole body through the blood).

In the absence of diagnosis and prompt management, this bacterial infection can be very serious or even fatal.

The bacterium involved is  Salmonella typhi . The latter is usually transmitted by the diet. Typhoid fever is highly contagious. Transmission of the disease is usually oral fecal.

Causes of typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is caused by a bacterial infection with  Salmonella typhi . This bacterium is particularly found in animal and human waste. It can be transmitted from man to man by manu-portage or be found in food (crops with soil contaminated) or in the water.

The populations most affected by this type of infection are those whose means of sanitation are not optimal (in developing countries in particular).

Other sources of contamination may be:

  • using contaminated toilets, then putting your hands in your mouth
  • a consumption of seafood living in contaminated water
  • consumption of root vegetables (carrots, leeks, etc.), grown on contaminated soil
  • consumption of contaminated milk

Who is affected by typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever particularly affects people in developing countries, whose sanitation system is not optimal.

Children are also at higher risk of developing the disease, including an increased tendency to put their hands in their mouths. In addition, their immune system is less effective, their body is more susceptible to infections and associated complications.

Evolution and possible complications of typhoid fever

Complications of an infection that causes typhoid fever usually only occur when there is no treatment.

These complications are associated with:

  • internal bleeding, particularly in the intestinal system
  • a perforation in the intestines, causing a spread of the bacteria to the entire body.

Symptoms of typhoid fever

The symptoms associated with typhoid fever usually appear after two weeks of bacterial contamination.

The rapid management and treatment of typhoid fever helps to reduce the symptoms between 3 and 5 days.

On the other hand , late diagnosis and management can have far more serious consequences within a few weeks. In a few months, the symptoms can become irreversible and the person’s vital prognosis can deteriorate rapidly.

The general symptoms of typhoid fever are:

  • a high fever (between 39 and 40 ° C)
  • of  headaches
  • muscle pain
  • stomach upset
  • loss of appetite
  • of  constipation  and / or  diarrhea
  • the appearance of pimples on the body
  • a state of confusion.

Risk factors for typhoid fever

Because typhoid fever is caused by a bacterial infection, the associated risk factor is exposure to the pathogen. This includes the consumption of contaminated food and / or water or even oral-fecal transmission from a contaminated individual.

How to prevent typhoid fever?

The prevention of typhoid fever is mainly through the respect of hygiene rules (wash your hands well before eating, do not consume water without the certainty that it is drinkable, wash fruits and vegetables, etc.).

A preventive vaccine is available and highly recommended for traveling to endemic countries (Africa, South America, Asia, etc.)

How to treat typhoid fever?

There is effective anti-bacterial treatment against typhoid fever

Management is usually done at the patient’s home. However, hospitalization may be necessary for slightly more complex cases (severe vomiting and bleeding, contamination in young children, etc.).

The search for the source pathogen of the infection is necessary, upstream, in order to adapt the appropriate treatment. Home antibiotic therapy extends over a period of 7 to 14 days. .

In view of the very high risk of transmission, the isolation of the patient is important. In the context of complications of the disease, surgery is possible to restore the digestive system attacked by the bacteria.

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