Typhoid Fever

(Enteric Fever; Paratyphoid Fever)

Definition

Typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever are serious infectious illnesses. They occur most often in developing countries where sanitation is poor.

Causes

Typhoid fever is caused by eating foods or drinking beverages contaminated with specific bacteria. Contamination can be present in:
  • Food or drinks handled by someone who is sick with typhoid fever
  • Food or drinks handled by someone who has no symptoms but carries the bacteria
  • Water or food contaminated by sewage
  • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • Unrefrigerated poultry products
Digestive System
Small intestines
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of typhoid fever include:
  • Not drinking boiled or bottled water
  • Eating raw shellfish
  • Eating fruits and vegetables that are raw or have been washed with contaminated water
  • Living in, or recent travel, to a country with poor sanitation
  • Decreased stomach acid, usually from taking acid reducing medications

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Fever often over a long period of time
  • Chills
  • Severe headaches
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rose-colored spots on the body
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle pains
  • Swelling of the neck glands, liver, or spleen

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Typhoid fever is usually diagnosed with a blood culture.

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