Typhoid fever is a severe infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. While this bacterium is related to the bacterium that causes the food poisoning commonly known as salmonella, typhoid fever is a different illness.
Because typhoid fever is passed between humans through poor hygiene practices and improper sanitation, developing countries -- where running water and closed sewage systems are rare -- are hardest hit by this disease.
Persistently high fever, which may last for four to eight weeks, and chills
"Rose spots" rash across abdomen
Constipation, which may be followed by diarrhea
In some cases, severe abdominal pain
Complications of typhoid fever include:
Anemia, caused by intestinal bleeding.
Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining), caused when intestinal contents leak through a perforation, or hole, in the intestine.
Inflammation of the liver.
Inflammation of the spleen, which may cause the spleen to burst.
Pneumonia, usually due to an opportunistic, bacterial infection that strikes while the patient is weak from the typhoid.
Swelling and infection in various areas of the body, including the joints, the liver, the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord , the kidneys, the bones , the heart muscle, the bronchial tubes , the testicles and the salivary glands.
You can get typhoid fever if you eat or drink contaminated food or beverages. Contamination can occur when people handling food don't adequately wash their hands, or when sewage gets into drinking water. Because developing countries may not have sanitation systems that carefully contain waste and sewage, water used for drinking and washing may be contaminated.
Some people recover from typhoid-fever symptoms but continue to be contagious; these people are considered carriers of the illness. Though they no longer appear ill, they can pass the disease to others.
Diagnostic and Test Procedures:
Your doctor may begin to suspect you have typhoid fever based on your symptoms and travel history. He or she may take samples of your blood or stool and send them to a laboratory for testing. Other blood tests may show that your body is producing an increased number of certain antibodies, indicating that you have typhoid fever.
Many different antibiotics are used to treat typhoid fever. These include ampicillin and sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. Unfortunately, some of the bacteria that cause typhoid fever are becoming resistant to a number of antibiotics. High-dose antibiotics may be used for four to six weeks to treat chronic carriers. Chronic carriers with swollen gallbladders or gallstones may need surgery to remove the gallbladder.
In general, vaccination against typhoid fever is not needed for people who live in countries where the disease is not widespread. If you are likely to travel to an area where typhoid fever is a problem, you will probably want to be vaccinated against the disease. Two types of vaccines exist: one taken by mouth and another that is injected. Each vaccine gives only partial protection against typhoid fever. You will still need to be very careful about what you eat and drink, and about hand washing.
You should drink only bottled water or water boiled for at least a minute prior to drinking. Avoid ice, unless you can be certain it has been made from bottled or boiled water. Similarly, avoid eating items such as flavored ices, unless you know that safe water was used in their preparation. Fruits and vegetables that have not been washed or that were washed in contaminated water may spread the disease. So don't eat any fresh fruit or vegetable that you cannot peel or wash in water known to be safe. Make sure that all the prepared foods you eat have been cooked thoroughly and are steaming hot. In general, it is wise not to buy food or drinks from street vendors because such foods are more likely to be contaminated. You should be very careful to wash your hands before eating, but you must wash them in water that you know is not contaminated.
Consult Your Doctor :
1) If you become ill after traveling to an area known to have a high rate of typhoid fever.
2) If you develop a very high fever and chills.
3) If you have a severe headache.
4) If you notice a rash across your abdomen.
5) If your joints feel achy and painful.
6) If you have severe pain in your abdomen.
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