Overview Of Typhoid

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that causes symptoms of diarrhea and rashes. It is often caused by a bacteria named Salmonella typhi (S typhi).

Commonly Associated With

Enteric fever

Causes Of Typhoid

S typhi spreads through consumption of food, drink, or water that is contaminated with the bacteria. Once consumed, the bacteria travels into your intestine and enters the blood. Next, S typhi migrates from the blood to your lymph nodes, liver, gallbladder, spleen, and other areas of the body.

There are people who may become carriers of S typhi and the bacteria can still be found in their stool for years.

Typhoid fever is common in developing countries. In the United States, most cases of typhoid fever are brought in from other countries where typhoid fever is common.

Symptoms Of Typhoid

The initial symptoms are malaise, fever, and abdominal pain. Later symptoms include a high fever of 103°F or 39.5°C and severe diarrhea.

A rash composed of small red dots found on the abdomen and chest area may develop in some people. This type of rash is called “rose spots”.

Other symptoms that occur include:

  • Agitation, confusion, delirium, seeing or experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Having difficulties paying attention
  • Bloody stools
  • Nosebleeds
  • Severe fatigue
  • Slow, sluggish, weak feeling
  • Chills

Exams & Diagnostic Tests

A physical exam will be performed and you will be asked about what symptoms you are experiencing.

A complete blood count (CBC) showing a high number of white blood cells.

A blood culture performed during the first week of the fever can detect S typhi bacteria.

Other diagnostic tests that may help diagnose this condition include:

  • Fluorescent antibody study to check for substances that are specific to S typhi bacteria
  • Platelet count (platelet count may be low)
  • ELISA blood test to check for antibodies to the S typhi bacteria
  • Stool culture

Treatment Of Typhoid

Fluids and electrolytes may either be administered via intravenous line or your health care provider may recommend you to drink water that is supplemented with electrolytes.

Antibiotics will be prescribed to kill the bacteria. There are increasing rates of antibiotic resistance so your provider will check current antibiotic usage recommendations before selecting an antibiotic.