Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever also known as Enteric fever is an severe infection caused by the bacteria namely Salmonella typhi (S typhi). This fever is common in developing nations and a serious health threat especially to children’s.


Salmonella typhi or S typhi develops in contaminated water, food, and drink. If a person consumes such items that are contaminated by the bacteria, then the infection will start progressing in your body, as the bacteria has entered in the person’s intestine and further travelling into the blood. From the blood these bacteria will take a round to liver, spleen, gallbladder, lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

It is important to note that some people become carriers of the bacteria S. typhi and continues to release and spread the infection for years by their stools.

Stages of Typhoid fever

The progression of typhoid occurs in four different stages, it is always suggested that early treatment may prevent the person to move to the next level.

Stage 1: Here the sufferer will begin to develop fever known as “stepwise” in medical terms and this will be within 5-14 days of the time of coming in contact with the responsible bacteria i.e. S. typhi. The bacteria is travelling in the blood of body.

Stage 2: This is the second week development of bacterial infection. Here the bacteria starts multiplying at rapid rate, and thereby has weaken the immune system (Peyer’s patches) that is responsible to recognize foreign bodies. Therefore, a person will start feeling the abdominal pain, cramps, constipation or diarrhea, changes in the skin like ‘rose spots’ or rashes.

Stage 3: In the third week of the infection, and if not treated properly so far, the rate of infection reaches its peek and person may face the severe medical issues like encephalitis ( inflammation in brain) and internal bleeding.

Stage 4: In this stage, most people begin to recover if properly treated with medications. Sufferer will begin to feel better than earlier and high fever begins getting low. Studies reveals the S. Typhi can live in our body’s gallbladder without reflecting any symptoms, however it shows that the person or the sufferer is still contagious even after they feel better.


The early symptoms of the typhoid include the high fever, abdominal pain, headache and ill-feeling. The body temperature may rise up to 39.5 ° C or 103 ° F or even higher and the diarrhea may get worse.

Due to the severe infection few people may spot the marks on their body specially on chest and abdomen, these spots are known as “rose spots” as they are red in color.

Other symptoms may include

  • Chills.
  • Severe fatigue.
  • Weak, sluggish feeling.
  • Agitation, confusion, hallucinations ( seeing or hearing things that are not there).
  • Less concentration.
  • Bloody stools.


After the physical check up, health care provider will get to know the symptoms of the sufferer and ask to undergo the Complete blood count (CBC), that will give the exact number of white blood cells in the body. A blood culture is also performed during the first week of fever to know the presence of the S. typhi bacteria.

  • ELISA blood test is performed to check the antibodies to the S. typhi bacteria.
  • Platelet count is performed, that count can be low.
  • Stool culture.
  • Fluorescent antibody study is used to performed with the motive to know about the substances that are specific to bacteria.


A patient is asked to drink the water with electrolyte or fluids and electrolytes are given into a vein. On addition, antibiotics are given to put an end to increasing number of bacteria.

If the proper treatment is taken, symptoms gets low within 2-4 weeks, however one is left with feeling weak, that may also gets vanish with the proper and healthy diet.

So far vaccines are partially effective in the typhoid fever, and are reserved for those who may be exposed to the disease or travelling to the place where this disease is spread at an high rate.


There are few severe health related issue that may develop if proper care is not taken of an infected person, these include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Intestinal hemorrhage
  • Peritonitis

When to visit doctor

One can visit the health care provider, it they:

  • Have been in contact with the infected person with typhoid fever.
  • Visited such area where numbers of people were suffering or are likely to have the chances of infection of typhoid fever.
  • You can have the symptoms and typhoid fever returns.
  • You may have severe abdominal pain, high fever, decreased urine rate.


  • Always drink boil water when travelling.
  • Avoid stale food, rather prefer the fresh cooked meals.
  • Try to avoid the unhygienic places.
  • Take your antibiotics.
  • Regularly wash your hands.

Bottom line

Typhoid fever is an acute illness caused by the Salmonella Typhi bacteria, the main reason for contraction is the uptake of the contaminated food and water. Typhoid fever is diagnosed when the Salmonella bacteria is been found in urine, blood, and stool cultures. The best way to to treat is to give antibiotics.

Sufferer will notice the symptoms like headaches, high body temperature, poor appetite, headaches, pains and lethargy. It has been calculated that around 3 – 5 % of patients become carriers of the bacteria causing infection after the illness.

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