What is typhoid?
Typhoid, also known as typhoid fever is a life threatening disease that is caused due to an infection by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) almost 21.5 million people in developing countries contract typhoid each year.
Symptoms of typhoid:-
Signs and symptoms are likely to develop gradually — often appearing one to three weeks after exposure to the disease.
Once signs and symptoms do appear, you’re likely to experience:
- Fever that starts low and increases daily, possibly reaching as high as 104.9 F (40.5 C)
- Weakness and fatigue
- Muscle aches
- Dry cough
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Extremely swollen abdomen
- Enlarged spleen & liver
- Rose-colored spots on the chest
- Chest congestion
- Abdominal pain
- Generalized pain and weakness
Your medical professional will conduct a thorough physical examination to look out for the symptoms and based on it the clinical tests required to undergo will be recommended. Also, a detailed travel as well as medical history will be conducted by your doctor to assess your exposure to the bacteria.
- CBC – If you are suffering from the disease, your complete blood count will show an increased white blood cell (WBC) count.
- Blood culture – Blood culture done during the initial phase of the disease (in the first week) shows S. typhibacteria.
- ELISA – A recent diagnostic test, ELISA urine test is done to look out for the bacteria causing the disease.
- Fluorescent antibody study – In this study, any substances that are specific to the bacterium are looked for.
- Platelet Count – Platelet count in case of the person affected by the disease is usually low.
- Stool culture – It is done to determine the presence of the bacterium in the feces.
Antibiotics such as ciproflaxin or ceftriaxone are generally prescribed to kill the bacteria. However, long-term use of these drugs have made some of the bacteria antibiotic-resistant and hence, your medical professional will go through current options before choosing one.
Additional treatment options include drinking lots of fluids (uncontaminated ones) to keep one hydrated and having diet rich in nutrients. Read about the latest break through in typhoid research: A new vaccine to fight typhoid.
Possible complications that may result include –
- Kidney failure
- Severe GI bleeding
- Intestinal perforation
Typhoid can be easily prevented by following some simple tips –
- Ensuring proper hygiene and sanitation will definitely shield you against getting infected by the bacteria.
- Persistent hand washing to keep the bacteria at bay.
- Careful preparation of food as the bacteria spreads with feces coming in contact with drinking water and food.
- Consume hot and fresh foods as high temperature hinders the growth of bacteria.
- Avoid eating raw veggies and fruits & also drinking untreated or contaminated water.
- Keep all your household items (especially in the kitchen) properly clean and sanitized.
- In case you are travelling to any part of the world that put you at high risk of getting infected with typhoid then vaccination is the best option available.