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Key Information About Typhoid

Updated on July 17, 2019
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Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.


Typhoid is a communicable disease. Between 11 and 21 million cases of typhoid infection, and 128,000 to 161,000 typhoid-related deaths occur annually worldwide.

This disease typically occurs in parts of the world where water is more likely to be contaminated with sewage.

“Typhoid is a neglected infectious disease all over the world where there is poor water, sanitation and hygiene. It’s one of the most common ... bacteremic illnesses in children in developing countries,” said Anita Zaidi, MBBS, SM, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Around 72 percent of typhoid patients are in South Asia because of poor sanitation conditions.


Also known as enteric fever, typhoid is caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria (also known as Salmonella enterica serotype typhi).

This life-threatening disease is contracted by the ingestion of contaminated food or water.

When the bacteria get into the body, they quickly multiply and spread into the bloodstream. Salmonella typhi lives only in humans.

A small number of persons, called carriers, recover from typhoid fever but continue to carry the bacteria. Both ill persons and carriers shed S.typhi in their feces.

Bacilli of Typhoid Fever from a Culture

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

S. typhi thrives in human intestines and blood, and if untreated sewage gets into the water supply or a cook doesn’t wash his hands after a bathroom break, bits of feces — laced with bacteria — end up in food and water.


Symptoms of typhoid vary from mild to severe and life-threatening. They usually develop 1 or 2 weeks after a person becomes infected with the bacteria.

Main symptoms include headache, fever, loss of appetite, malaise, rose-coloured rash, abdominal discomfort, dry cough, and constipation or diarrhoea. Constipation occurs more often than diarrhoea in adults.

Persistent fever develops and gradually rises, usually in a stepwise fashion, reaching a peak of 39 or 40 °C (103 or 104 °F) after 7–10 days.


Typhoid and typhus contain the word 'typhi' in their official names. Rickettsia typhi is the proper name of typhus and it is Salmonella typhi for typhoid.

Typhoid Test

Assays that identify Salmonella antibodies or antigens support the diagnosis of typhoid fever, but these results should be confirmed with cultures or DNA evidence.


Emergence of multidrug resistance and decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi in some parts of Asia have rendered older medicines, including ampicillin, chloramphenicol, trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole, ciprofloxacin, and ofloxacin, ineffective or suboptimal for typhoid.

Many doctors prescribe gatifloxacin, an antibiotic agent and a member of the fourth-generation fluoroquinolone family.

With appropriate antibiotic therapy, most patients recover from this potentially life-threatening illness.


Fresh fruit juice
Poached eggs
Boiled rice
Baked potato
Cottage cheese


Get yourself vaccinated. WHO recommends three vaccines. They are:

  1. Ty21a
  2. Vi capsular polysaccharide vaccine (ViCPS)
  3. Typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV).

Typhoid Vaccine Live Oral Ty21a is a live attenuated typhoid fever vaccine for oral administration. It is the only oral vaccine indicated for use against Salmonella Typhi.

Avoid consuming raw food. Drink bottled water or water that has been boiled. Wash your hands thoroughly before eating. Do not buy foods from street vendors.

Introducing a typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) into routine child vaccine schedules and conducting a catch-up campaign to vaccinate all children up to age 15 is a cost-effective solution for many low- to middle-income countries severely burdened by typhoid.

— Yale School of Public Health

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R


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