Enteric Fever (Typhoid Fever)

What is typhoid Fever?

Typhoid Fever also known as enteric Fever is an infectious disease caused mainly by the
bacteria Salmonella Typhi (less commonly by Salmonella Paratyphi A, B and C).

Salmonella typhi infection is one of the most common causes of food poisoning.

How does a person become infected?

The infection is transmitted when a person eats food or water contaminated with the feces/urine
of a person infected with salmonella typhi bacteria.

Once infected the bacteria invades the gut, spreads to other parts of the body.

It is important to note that after the active phase of infection has subsided and the person is now
symptom free, about 3-5% of people become carriers of the infection (they still shed the
salmonella typhi bacteria in their stool for many years).

Enteric fever

Who is at Risk of getting typhoid Fever?

There are over 27 million cases of Typhoid worldwide every year with developing countries
being affected the most.

Some factors can increase the chances of being infected. These include:
-Children (while playing contact surfaces and put fingers in mouth / weaker immune system)
-People that live or work in where typhoid Fever is established
-Those in close contact with infected persons (caregivers)
-Poor water and food hygiene
-living in overcrowded quarters

Signs and Symptoms of Typhoid Fever

-High Fever
-Headache
-Abdominal pain
-loss of appetite
-Vomiting
-Constipation / Diarrhea
-Generalized weakness
-Rash

How is Typhoid Fever Diagnosed ?

-Proper history taking (travel and contact history)
-Clinical presentation and examination
-Serology
-Culture of blood, stool or urine.

How is it treated?

-Antibiotic therapy. Usually, treatment is achieved with a 7–10-day course of antibiotics
-Supportive Care (rehydration, control vomiting, manage Fever)
-Diet

What are the possible Complications?

-The most common complication intestinal perforation and bleeding. Others are;
-Endocarditis
-Pneumonia
-Pancreatitis

Prevention

-Vaccination: there are currently two types of vaccines available (oral / injection) given a week
before traveling to an endemic area and can offer immunity for up to 2-5 years
-Regular Hands washing
-Good food and water hygiene
-Cook food properly.

Conclusion
Typhoid Fever also known as Enteric fever is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria
Salmonella typhi (less commonly by Salmonella Paratyphi) after ingesting contaminated food.

Prompt treatment is necessary to prevent complications, and more efforts should be directed
towards prevention.

Written by Dr Ajughoro Oghenetega (MD)

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