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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.


Typhoid fever is contracted by drinking or eating the bacteria in contaminated food or water. People 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.


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)

  • Headache

  • Weakness and fatigue

  • Muscle aches

  • Sweating

  • Dry cough

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhoea or constipation

  • Rash

  • Extremely swollen abdomen


Risk factors

Typhoid fever is most common in parts of the world that have poor sanitation and limited access to clean water.


Worldwide, children are thought to be most at risk of developing typhoid fever. This may be because their immune system (the body's natural defence against infection and illness) is still developing. However, children with typhoid fever tend to have milder symptoms than adults.


Sanitation and hygiene are important to prevent typhoid. Careful food preparation and washing of hands are crucial to prevent typhoid.



Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics which kill the Salmonella bacteria. Prior to the use of antibiotics, the fatality rate was 20%. With antibiotics and supportive care, mortality has been reduced to 1%-2%. With appropriate antibiotic therapy, there is usually improvement within one to two days and recovery within seven to 10 days.


Culled from Staywellworld blog post dated September 26, 2016.

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