Typhoid fever, also known as “enteric fever,” is a bacterial infection that affects multiple systems and organs throughout the body. It is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi, a subspecies of salmonella that is typically contracted from contaminated food or water.
Symptoms of typhoid fever include:
- High fever
- Bodily aches
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Skin rash
Although anyone can get infected with typhoid fever, it’s more common in places where there are poor sanitation and hygiene levels since these conditions make it easier for the bacteria to spread.
Fortunately, typhoid is preventable through vaccinations and proper hygiene practices. To help you better recognize and understand the symptoms associated with this infection, this article provides an overview of what you should look out for if you think you may have been exposed to S. typhi bacteria.
Causes of Typhoid Fever
Typhoid fever is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. This bacterium can be found in contaminated food and water sources and is spread from person to person through contact with contaminated feces. It is estimated that there are between 21 million and 28 million cases each year worldwide, with an estimated 200,000 deaths annually. While typhoid fever occurs more often in developing countries, it still poses a serious risk in the United States, especially for travelers to those regions.
People who are infected with the typhoid bacteria may experience symptoms including:
- A sustained high fever of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) or higher
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal pain/discomfort
- Loss of appetite or nausea/vomiting
- Skin rash (see Rose spots)
- Diarrhea (may be bloody)
- Unusual mental behavior such as confusion or delirium
Symptoms of Typhoid Fever
Typhoid fever is a serious illness caused by a type of bacteria called Salmonella Typhi. It is spread through contaminated food or drinks and can have a range of symptoms from mild to severe.
Some of the most common symptoms of typhoid fever include fever, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain, and a rash. Other symptoms may also develop as the disease progresses, so it is important to be aware of any signs that may indicate the presence of typhoid fever.
Typhoid fever is a potentially fatal bacterial illness caused by Salmonella Typhi, which can be spread through contaminated food or water. It primarily affects children and those living in areas without access to clean drinking water.
The most obvious symptom of typhoid fever is a prolonged, high fever usually ranging between 103°F and 104°F (39.4°C and 40°C). Most people experience on-again-off again fevers, with chills and shaking lasting for up to several hours at a time. A rash of flat rose-colored spots may also appear on the trunk about a week into the illness. This rash does not occur in all cases but if it does appear it can last for several days before fading away.
Additional common symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal discomfort (sometimes mistaken for appendicitis)
- Muscle pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Increased heart rate
Patients with typhoid fever often experience a general feeling of malaise, as well as headache. Headache is usually one of the early signs of the disease and may persist throughout the illness. It typically starts with a low-grade pressure or tightness behind the eyes which intensifies over time to become a severe throbbing headache. Patients may also report having increased sensitivity to light or noise.
Other associated symptoms can include:
- Pain in the stomach area
- Muscle aches
Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite is a common symptom of typhoid fever. It is often accompanied by an increase in fatigue, which can lead to a decrease in interest in food. People with typhoid fever will also often experience abdominal pain and nausea, which could make it difficult to eat or digest foods.
Other possible symptoms include:
- Excessive sweating and fever
- A rash on the abdomen or chest
- If the fever is severe enough, there may be confusion or delirium present as well.
- As the disease progresses, an enlargement of the spleen or liver may occur as well as gastrointestinal bleeding.
- In extreme cases, intestinal obstruction or perforation may occur as well.
Individuals should seek medical attention immediately if they display any symptoms of typhoid fever.
Abdominal pain is one of the symptoms of typhoid fever. It typically begins 1 to 3 weeks after infection, and the pain can become quite intense. This type of abdominal pain is described as having a dull, continuous character with occasional sharp shots of discomfort in the lower abdomen and around the belly button area.
Other associated symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue or malaise
Diarrhea is a common symptom of typhoid fever and can range from mild to severe. It may be accompanied by stomach pains, a low-grade fever, and may contain blood or mucus.
In cases where large amounts of fluid are lost through vomiting or diarrhea, the symptoms can become more severe as dehydration sets in. In rare cases, severe diarrhea can lead to shock or death if left untreated.
Constipation is a common symptom of typhoid fever, which develops when an individual ingests food or water contaminated with Salmonella typhi, a type of bacterial infection. Other common symptoms of this bacterial infection may include fever and chills, loss of appetite, headache, abdominal discomfort, malaise (a feeling of bodily discomfort), chest congestion, disturbed sleep patterns, weight loss and a rash similar to measles. In severe cases it may cause confusion and even delirium. If left untreated it can be life-threatening.
To reduce the risk of contracting typhoid fever it is important to wash hands thoroughly before handling food or beverages, as well as when taking care of a person affected by the illness. It is also important to avoid consuming fruits or vegetables not washed properly and practice safe sex by using condoms during intercourse.
Treatment typically includes antibiotics to eradicate the bacteria from the body; however in some cases hospitalization may be needed for more severe infections so that medications can be administered intravenously.
Weakness and fatigue
One of the more common symptoms of typhoid fever is weakness and fatigue, which is caused by serious dehydration. Additional symptoms include a slow but steady fever that may increase each day, abdominal pain and tenderness or cramping, headache, and a general feeling of discomfort or unease. The patient may also experience loss of appetite, nausea and constipation.
Rose spots–small red macules–may form on the chest and abdomen near the end of the first week. Those rose spots are specific to typhoid fever but require a trained eye to detect them; they are not seen in all patients with tyhpoid fever but if they develop, it may indicate a certain strain that is resistant to certain antibiotics.
Rose-colored spots on the chest
Rose-colored spots on the chest are a common symptom of typhoid fever. These spots, also known as papular rash, often appear on the lower abdomen around the navel, as well as on the chest. The rash is usually flat, rose-colored and slightly raised, appearing in wedge-shaped streaks that often itch or burn. It typically appears 8 to 15 days after exposure to the bacteria Salmonella Typhi that causes typhoid fever.
In some cases, however, other symptoms may appear prior to or in absence of a rash. For example, some individuals with typhoid fever may experience a high fever (about 103°F), chills, exhaustion and fatigue as well as loss of appetite and constipation for up to two weeks before the rash develops. Other common symptoms can include headache and abdominal pain caused by abdominal swelling and tenderness due to enlarged lymph nodes. Additionally, an infected person might suffer from mental confusion due to invasion or abscess of brain tissues by S. Typhi bacteria or even seizures in extremely rare cases.
If you experience any of these symptoms of typhoid fever after exposure to contaminated food or water or contact with an infected person; seek medical attention right away for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan by your healthcare provider.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Typhoid fever is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. It is characterized by high fever, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. There are other symptoms associated with typhoid fever that can indicate a need for diagnosis and treatment.
In this section, we will discuss the diagnosis and treatment options for this condition.
One way to diagnose typhoid fever is through diagnostic blood tests. Tests may not be accurate in the first few days of the illness; as a result, they may need to be repeated after several days if a diagnosis of typhoid fever is being considered. These tests may include:
- Complete blood count (CBC) – This test is used to measure different types of cells in the blood, such as red and white blood cells and can detect a low level of white cell count, which is typical for typhoid fever.
- Blood culture – A sample of your blood will be sent to a lab to see if there are any bacteria present that could indicate typhoid fever.
- O and P antigen test – If the results from other tests are inconclusive, this antigen test can help detect antibodies specific for Salmonella typhi, which would point toward a diagnosis of typhoid fever.
In some cases, additional testing may be recommended by the healthcare provider based on symptoms or risk factors such as travel history. These tests can help rule out other medical conditions that have similar signs and symptoms.
Typhoid fever is a serious health condition that can be treated with antibiotics. Common antibiotic treatments used to treat typhoid fever include ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, azithromycin and ceftriaxone.
The choice of antibiotic prescribed by your doctor will depend on factors such as the severity of infection and any potential drug allergies or drug resistance you may have. It is important to follow the instructions of your physician when starting an antibiotic treatment for typhoid fever and to finish taking all prescribed medications even if feeling better after only several days. Failing to complete treatment can lead to more serious health conditions and relapse of symptoms.
Vaccination against typhoid fever is recommended for travelers and people living in areas where the disease is common. Two types of vaccines are available to protect people against typhoid fever: an inactivated (dead) vaccine, and a live attenuated vaccine.
The inactivated typhoid vaccine is injected into the person’s muscle, usually in the upper arm or buttocks. It should not be given to children under two years of age, pregnant women, or adults aged 50 years or older. The first dose provides protection for two years; a booster dose is necessary every two years if there is ongoing risk of exposure to the disease.
The live attenuated (weakened) oral vaccine comes as a capsule containing four doses that need to be taken over the course of a week. It should not be given to anyone younger than six years old, pregnant women, or adults aged 60 years or older. The protection provided by this type of vaccine lasts for five years; there is no need for booster doses as with other types of vaccines.
Typhoid fever is a potentially deadly infection that is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. It’s very important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of typhoid fever since it can cause serious complications if not treated.
Common symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and constipation or diarrhea. Other signs include a characteristic skin rash that starts on the chest and spreads to other parts of the body.
If you suspect that you or someone you know may have typhoid fever, contact your doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Your physician can help you manage your symptoms and prevent serious complications from arising.