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Typhoid fever

 

The fever Typhoid is today a rare disease in developed countries, although still occurring in both developing and underdeveloped. Although it can affect people of all ages, it mostly develops in children .

This disorder is spread through contaminated food and water ; It can also occur through close contact with an infected person, although it is not the most common. Regarding the symptoms of typhoid fever , the most frequent are: high fever, headache and abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea. Thus, in many cases it is confused with other digestive disorders.

In a high percentage of cases, once the diagnosis has been made and antibiotic treatment has been established, the disease begins to remit within a few days. The death rate from typhoid fever is low.

What is it?

Typhoid fever is a systemic infectious disease characterized by high fever and symptoms that generally affect the digestive system .

Currently, the incidence of this disease in Spain is very low. In addition, practically 100% of the cases diagnosed are from travelers from endemic areas. The rate of typhoid fever cases in our country currently stands at 0.15 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Causes of typhoid fever

The bacteria Salmonella typhi is the direct cause of this disease, which can spread in different ways.

Contaminated food and water

Virtually all patients suffering from typhoid fever have contracted this disease due to the consumption of contaminated food or water , usually due to poor hygiene conditions .

The bacterium S. typhi is transmitted in the feces , and sometimes also in the urine. Thus, a person can contract this disease if they eat food that has been handled by someone with typhoid fever who has not washed their hands properly after using the bathroom. You can also become infected by consuming water contaminated with this bacteria.

People with typhoid fever

Once antibiotic treatment is started, typhoid does not disappear from the body overnight. What’s more, even those patients who have already fully recovered and who do not present any symptoms continue to harbor the bacteria for several years.

These people are called “chronic carriers” , and they shed the bacteria responsible for typhoid fever through their feces, thus being able to infect other people.

Typhoid fever symptoms

The typical signs of typhoid fever develop gradually. In the vast majority of patients, they begin between one and three weeks after infection.

The first signs of this disease include fever , which can rise to 40.5ºC; It is a very characteristic type of fever because it undergoes great fluctuations throughout the day. Other symptoms such as tiredness, headache, sweating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, and loss of appetite also occur .

Faced with these symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor since, otherwise, they can worsen and lead to different life-threatening complications. The most serious signs of typhoid fever are delusions and what is known as the typhoid state; the person remains immobile and exhausted, with the eyes half closed.

Diagnosis and treatment

Once the symptoms described in the previous point appear, it is important to go to the doctor as soon as possible so that he can make a timely diagnosis and establish the most appropriate treatment for it.

The doctor first takes the patient’s medical history , depending on the symptoms described, as well as whether he has recently made a trip to an endemic area.

Next, if typhoid fever is suspected, proceed to perform a blood test, as well as stool and urine, to detect the presence of typhoid bacteria. In some cases, bone marrow culture may be necessary.

Once the disease is confirmed, the doctor establishes a therapy based on antibiotics , the most effective treatment for this disorder. One of the most prescribed medications is Ciprofloxacin.

In addition, it is important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration that can lead to fever for a long period of time, as well as diarrhea. In case the intestines have been perforated due to typhoid fever, a potential complication of this disorder.

Risk factor’s

There are a number of risk factors that are worth knowing and taking into account, especially when traveling to endemic countries such as India, Southeast Asia, some areas of Africa and South America.

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As we have pointed out, children are at higher risk of typhoid fever, although their symptoms are milder than those of adults.

It is important to pay special attention to the food and drinks that are consumed . In the case of food, make sure that it has been handled correctly and that it is well cooked; it is important to avoid raw foods. As for drinks, it is important to always drink bottled water.

Complications of typhoid fever

The truth is that typhoid fever complications are not too frequent. However, if these do occur, they are in the vast majority of cases of a serious nature. That is why it is so important to see a doctor as soon as the first symptoms of the disease appear.

Complications develop in the third week after infection occurs. The most frequent are the following.

  • Intestinal perforation: occurs when a hole is created in the intestines, small or large. In this way, the content that is inside the intestines leaks into the abdominal cavity, thus giving rise to a series of serious symptoms; constant and severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and even sepsis . It is a life-threatening condition that requires urgent medical attention.
  • Myocarditis: Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, known as the myocardium. This disorder reduces the heart’s ability to pump, leading to faster-than-normal heart rates. In severe myocarditis, the heart becomes weak, so the rest of the body does not get the blood it needs.
  • Endocarditis : Endocarditis is infection of the endocardium, the inner lining of both the valves and the chambers of the heart. If not treated urgently, this disease can cause organ damage, leading to life-threatening complications.
  • Pneumonia: Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs. Its causes are very varied, although in a large number of cases they are bacteria, viruses or fungi. The most common symptoms are high fever, chills, chest pain when breathing, and shortness of breath.
  • Bladder infection : Bladder infection, also known as cystitis , results in symptoms such as the need to urinate and pain or burning during urination.
  • Meningitis : Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. The most common recurring symptoms are headache, fever, and a stiff neck.
  • Paranoid psychosis: Beyond the physical complications, typhoid fever can also cause paranoid psychosis. A mental disorder in which the patient has delusional thoughts, which have nothing to do with reality.

How to prevent typhoid fever?

Although there is no 100% foolproof measure to avoid this disease, there are a number of precautions that greatly minimize the risk of typhoid fever.

  • Vaccine: There are two typhoid vaccines, although neither is entirely effective. The first one is injected in a single dose at least one week before the trip. And, the second vaccine is administered orally in a total of four capsules.
  • Hand washing : frequent and proper hand washing is essential to avoid infection. It is important to do it especially before eating or preparing food, as well as after going to the bathroom. A good idea is to carry a hand sanitizer.
  • Water: Of course, it is important to avoid drinking untreated water. That is why it is only recommended to drink bottled water.
  • Food: in terms of food, it is advisable to avoid raw vegetables, as well as any type of dish that has not been cooked. Another good recommendation is to opt for hot foods.

Typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever

Finally, it is worth highlighting the difference between the two types of fevers. While typhoid fever is caused by infection with the bacteria Salmonella Typhi, paratyphoid fever is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Paratyphi serotypes A, B and C.

Conclution

As we have pointed out, typhoid fever is not a common disorder in developed countries. However, when traveling to endemic areas, pay special attention to the food and beverages you consume, as well as washing your hands frequently.

The complications of typhoid fever are serious, so it is important to see a doctor when the first symptoms are felt.

 

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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