Article on Typhoid Fever
What is typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is an acute illness associated with fever caused by the Salmonella
typhi bacteria. It can also be caused by Salmonella paratyphi, a related bacterium that
usually causes a less severe illness. The bacteria are deposited in water or food by a
human carrier and are then spread to other people in the area.The incidence of typhoid fever
in the United States has markedly decreased since the early 1900s. Today, less than 500
cases are reported annually in the United States, mostly in people who recently have traveled
to endemic areas. This is in comparison to the 1920s, when over 35,000 cases were reported
in the U.S. This improvement is the result of improved environmental sanitation. Mexico and
South America are the most common areas for U.S. citizens to contract typhoid fever. India,
Pakistan, and Egypt are also known high-risk areas for developing this disease. Worldwide,
typhoid fever affects more than 13 million people annually, with over 500,000 patients
dying of the disease.
How do patients get typhoid fever?
Typhoid fever is contracted by the ingestion of the bacteria in contaminated food
or water. Patients with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through
stool, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. Contamination of the water
supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. About 3%-5% of patients become carriers of the bacteria
after the acute illness. Some patients suffer a very mild illness that goes unrecognized.
These patients can become long-term carriers of the bacteria. The bacteria multiplies in the
gallbladder, bile ducts, or liver and passes into the bowel. The bacteria can survive for
weeks in water or dried sewage. These chronic carriers may have no symptoms and can be the
source of new outbreaks of typhoid fever for many years.
symptoms of typhoid fever
The incubation period is usually one to two weeks, and the duration of the illness is about four to six weeks. The patient experiences
3.generalized aches and pains,
People with typhoid fever usually have a sustained fever as high as 103 to 104
degrees Fahrenheit (39 to 40 degrees Celsius).Chest congestion develops in many patients, and
abdominal pain and discomfort are common. The fever becomes constant. Improvement occurs in the
third and fourth week in those without complications. About 10% of patients have recurrent
symptoms (relapse) after feeling better for one to two weeks. Relapses are actually more common
in individuals treated with antibiotics.