TYPHOID FEVER – FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Typhoid fever is an infective illness caused by a bacteria called Salmonella typhi (S.typhi). There is another illness, Paratyphoid fever, caused by Salmonella paratyphi A, B and C. Together, they are referred to as ENTERIC FEVER. However, paratyphoid fever is usually milder.
Both are spread via contaminated food and/or water.
The period between infection and manifestation of symptoms is 10 to 14 days
S.typhi can survive in water for 7 days, in sewage for 14days, and in ice cream for 1 month.
It affects all age groups, male and female alike.
Humans are the only reservoir of infection.
Some people are CARRIERS of the infection and shed the organism in their faeces and/ or urine. The organism hides in their gall bladder and is “discharged” intermittently.
How does one get infected?
- Contaminated food, directly by a “carrier” food handler
- Contaminated water : from a polluted water source, or that contaminated by faeces
- Milk – borne: either by direct contamination via a carrier or from utensils
- Ice – cream: directly contaminated via a carrier
- Vegetables and salads, especially if grown with human faeces as manure
- Body pains
- Vomiting and stooling in children
By the end of second week, complications may set in such as:
- Perforation of the intestine
- Kidney infection
Important laboratory tests
- White cell count
- Blood culture
- Stool and urine culture
WIDAL REACTION IS NOT A RELIABLE TEST FOR DIAGNOSIS and should be interpreted with caution especially in those who have been vaccinated.
- Sanitary disposal of faeces
- Water purification
- Good personal hygiene
- Hand washing
After treatment, stool and urine samples should be negative for the bacteria on 3 occasions carried out at minimum of 48hrs interval.
Ignorance can kill. Stay informed, stay healthy.
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