Typhoid fever is a condition caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria and is rarely found in developed nations. Despite that, it’s still considered a dangerous threat to people in developing nations, especially children. The disease that causes the fever spreads through water or food contaminated with someone infected with the illness. Typically, symptoms and signs include everything from headaches and fever to abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The majority of patients who suffer from typhoid fever feel better within days of beginning an antibiotic treatment, though some may die due to complications.
Like many health conditions, there are a few risk factors that may indicate if you’re at risk of developing the illness. For starters, the fever is more common in developing parts of the world, such as India and Africa. Additionally, children are more at risk. Other risk factors include the following:
Typhoid fever results from contamination by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. However, it’s important to note that Salmonella typhi is not the same bacteria responsible for salmonellosis, the bacteria that causes a potentially life-threatening intestinal infection.
If you have typhoid fever, you may experience the following symptoms that develop within one to three weeks after exposure:
As the fever progresses, you may also experience more serious symptoms, including the following:
If you think you may have typhoid fever, schedule an appointment with your doctor for a diagnosis. During your checkup, your doctor may perform a physical exam and run through your travel and medical history. Additionally, your doctor may collect a blood or tissue sample to analyze it for Salmonella typhi.
If you’re diagnosed with typhoid fever, your doctor may recommend antibiotic therapy. In fact, to this day, antibiotic therapy is the only effective form of treatment for typhoid fever. Some of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics include the following:
Despite being some of the most effective antibiotics for typhoid fever, long-term use may result in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. In addition to antibiotics, drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration is important and helps fight fever and diarrhea.
Without treatment, typhoid fever may last up to a month, and the death rate may be as high as 30%. Antibiotic treatment greatly improves your chances of making a full recovery.
Left untreated, typhoid fever may result in a few complications, including intestinal perforations and bleeding. If this happens, you may have to undergo surgery. Other less common complications including the following: