Typhoid Fever just like its counterpart Malaria can be fatal if left untreated. The acute illness which is associated with fever is caused by a bacteria known as 'Salmonella typhi'.
The bacteria is deposited in food or water by a human carrier and is contaminable as well. The human carrier could contaminate surrounding water via excretion (urine and stool) which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. In other words, Typhoid fever is contracted by ingesting food or water that contains the bacteria which can survive for weeks in water.
According to studies, people become carriers of the bacteria after suffering the acute illness and could carry the bacteria for a long time without no symptoms, making them the source of new outbreaks of the fever.
Once contaminated water or food is ingested, Salmonella typhi bacteria works by invading the small intestine and entering the bloodstream temporarily. The bacteria is conveyed by the white blood cells in the spleen, bone marrow and liver where it multiplies and re-enters the bloodstream (It is at this point that affected people begin to develop the fever).
The bacteria can be identified by stool samples and more accurately, blood samples. The incubation period for Typhoid Fever is 1-2weeks and the duration of the illness is about 3-4weeks.
The symptoms of the illness includes;
- Diarrhoea and Abdominal Discomfort
- Constant Headaches
- Poor Appetite
- High Fever (up to 104 degrees)
- Aches and Pains in different parts of the body
Typhoid Fever is treated with 'Antibiotics' which are effective against the bacteria. With proper antibiotic treatment, the recovery period from the fever is roughly seven to ten days.
Prior to the use of antibiotics, the mortality rate of the fever was tagged at 20%, however, following the use of antibiotics and supportive care, it has been reduced to 1-2%.
A lot of people make the ignorant mistake of treating malaria when indeed they actually have typhoid fever which is why it is always advisable to consult a medical professional or visit a medical centre for accurate diagnosis.
Always remember that self-medication is very dangerous.