Typhoid Fever is a life threatening infection and can present symptoms that are fatal if ignored and not given immediate medical attention. According to United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) an estimated 11- 21 million people are affected by typhoid fever yearly worldwide and 5700 people are affected every year in the United States, most people that are diagnosed with typhoid fever in the United States always have travel history to countries where the infection is common.
In today’s article we will be talking about typhoid fever,it’s transmission, symptoms, treatment and prevention.
What is Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is a bacteria infection that is caused by Salmonella typhi and the symptoms can be very severe if left untreated, however they can be treated effectively with antibiotics when identified at early stage and can also be prevented with typhoid Vaccines.
Where is Typhoid Fever Most Common?
Typhoid fever is more prevalent in countries where food and water are unsafe for consumption and where hygienic practices and sanitation are poor. According to WHO an estimated 128,000 to 161,000 people die from typhoid fever every year globally. Typhoid fever is regularly found among people in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Indonesia, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan, this disease is more common in underdeveloped country due to poor sanitation and lack of access to potable water and clean food. This infections is very rare in United States, Canada, Japan and West Europe, therefore reported cases from this countries are people who have traveled to countries where the disease are common.
What Causes Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is caused by a bacteria known as Salmonella typhi, this bacteria lives in the intestine and spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. It is a life-threatening infection that brings up severe symptoms and could results into death if left untreated.
Transmission of Typhoid
Typhoid fever is spread through the consumption of food and water that are contaminated with Salmonella typhi, this bacteria is found in the feaces of an infected person, therefore the ingestion of food or water that contains fecal contaminants can results into typhoid fever infections. Many carriers of Salmonella typhi do not present any symptoms example include food handlers and they can spread this infections to others through improper and unhygienic handling of foods.
Other factors that can contribute to the spread of typhoid fever include improper and unhygienic handling of food, poor sanitation, inadequate cooking of food, inadequate reheating of food, eating of fruit and vegetables without washing and poor personal hygiene.
Symptoms of Typhoid
The symptoms of typhoid fever progresses from mild to severe and they can lead to death if not treated. The onset of symptoms is usually 6 to 30 days after exposure to the infection and the common symptoms are fever which is characterized by high body temperature between 39 to 40 degrees Celsius and rash with rose coloured spots on the body, this rash is not always present in all patients.
Other symptoms of typhoid fever include
- Abdominal cramp
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle ache
- Loss of weight
When typhoid fever is left untreated they can lead to chronic health complications such as intestinal hemorrhage, intestinal perforation, pneumonia and acute bronchitis. They can also result into mental disorder such as hallucination and delirium.
Treatment of Typhoid
Typhoid is a serious health condition that threatens the existence of life at chronic stage, therefore it is important to identify and give immediate medical attention to the disease before it worsens and bring up severe health complications.
It can be treated with the administration of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, amoxicillin and ceftriaxone, this antibiotics can be used to treat typhoid fever effectively through correct prescription and early treatment of infection.
The presence of antibiotics-resistant bacteria in typhoid infection is an increasing problem and threat to life globally. Salmonella typhi have been found to resist chloramphenicol, ampicillin and trimethoprim- sulfamethoxazoles. In this case these drugs do not longer work and cannot be effectively used to cure the infection.
Other treatment include
- Surgery: in severe cases where there is intestinal perforation, surgery is the ultimate remedy to repair the hole.
- Intravenous fluid administration: rapid loss of body fluid or dehydration due to consistent diarrhoea can be treated by injecting fluid to replace the lost one.
Is there a Vaccine for Typhoid Fever?
Yes, there are two types of vaccines that have been effectively developed to prevent typhoid infections and people travelling to countries where the disease is prevalent are advised to take this vaccines before embarking on the journey to prevent being infected. The vaccines are:
- Oral typhoid vaccines : this one is administered through oral route and consist of four tablets, it provides protection for up to five years.
- Injectable typhoid vaccines : This vaccine is admistered by injection and is to be taken 2 weeks before travelling. It provides protection up to 2 years.
Vaccination is not 100% effective in preventing the disease therefore hygienic practices and good sanitation should be encouraged to prevent exposure to the infection.
Prevention of Typhoid
- Drinking of portable water
- Encourage the practice of good hygiene and proper sanitation
- Proper handling of food
- Cook food very well before eating
- Sufficient reheating of food
- Wash fruit and vegetables with water before eating
- Avoid handling food if you are still under treatment
- Wash your hands after using the toilet
Practicing standard hygienic procedures and maintaining good sanitations are good preventive measures against typhoid infections and this can go a long way to prevent the damages that can be done by Salmonella typhi in the body.