TYPHOID FEVER: All You Need to Know About it.

Typhoid fever is an infection caused by Salmonella typhi. It is a serious health challenge in developing countries, including Nigeria. In 2010, there were 26.9 million cases with 217,000 recorded death.

HOW DOES TYPHOID FEVER SPREAD

In the setting of poor water supply, sewage disposal and sanitation, it spreads through feaco-oral route. See the image below:

Illustrative diagram on how typhoid spreads

In carriers (those who have the infection), the organism causing the infection are located in the gall bladder and excreted via the stool and urine.

SYMPTOMS (Your Possible Complaints)

This include: generalized body pain, unexplained fever with headache, malaise, cough with or without sputum and constipation. Later you may experience diarrhea which may be bloody.

SIGN (what your Doctor will find on when checking your body)

  1. Enlarged spleen
  2. Hepatomegaly (enlarged liver)
  3. Scattered crepitation in the chest
  4. In white skinned people, rash which is slightly raised, red-rose spot which fades on pressure are seen in the upper part of abdomen and back
  5. Tenderness in the right iliac fossa usually from ulcerated peyers patches.

INVESTIGATION

Your doctor may ask you to do the following investigations:

Full blood count

Blood culture: Blood culture is the most important of investigation. Stool and urine may be positive in the third and fourth week.

Liver function test: Liver transaminase and serum bilirubin are usually raised to twice the reference range.

Widal Test: It may be used to make a presumptive diagnosis of typhoid fever in a resource limited environment.

TREATMENT

When the definitive diagnosis of typhoid fever is made, your doctor will place on antibiotic at recommended dose.

PREVENTION OF TYPHOID FEVER

The surest way of protecting yourself against typhoid fever is carefully selecting what you eat and drink. Typhoid vaccine is not 100% protective hence careful selection of what you eat and drink is VERY IMPORTANT:

1.         Eat food that are thoroughly cooked.

2.         When you travel, always go for trusted bottle water.

3.         If fruits cannot be peeled, avoid it. Wash your hands with soap before peeling the fruits yourself.

4.         Avoid eating raw vegetables.

5.         Avoid eating from food vendors in the street.

TO LEARN MORE, WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:

FURTHER READING:

The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

A.A.C.C Lab Test Online

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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