Typhoid Fever or Typhoid is a systemic enteric infection caused by bacteria usually through ingestion of contaminated food or water. The disease is also referred by several other names such as Gastric Fever, Enteric Fever, Abdominal Typhus, Infantile Remittent Fever, Slow Fever, Nervous Fever, and Pythogenic Fever. The disease causes several symptoms causing mild to severe problems for the patients. The symptoms are generally seen from six to thirty days after exposure. Generally there is the gradual onset of high fever for several days, weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, and vomiting. Some people also develop a skin rash with red colored spots.
The cause of the disease is the bacterium Salmonella typhi which is also known as Salmonella enterica serotype typhi , mainly growing in the intestines and blood. Risk factors include poor sanitation and poor hygiene. Diagnosis of the disease is done by either culturing the bacteria or detecting the bacterium’s DNA in the blood, stool, or bone marrow. Culturing the bacterium is little bit difficult so Bone marrow testing is the mostly used method. It has been observed that a typhoid vaccine can prevent about 40-90% of the infection during the first 2-7 years. But this vaccine is always recommended for the people at high risk or travelling to the places where this disease is so common. Other efforts which can be done to prevent the disease are clean drinking water, good sanitation, and hand washing. The disease is usually treated with several antibiotics such as Azithromycin, Fluoroquinolones or third generation cephalosporins.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Usually, the complete course of untreated typhoid fever is divided into 4 different stages, where the each stage lasts for a week which makes the patient completely exhausted.
• In the first week, the body temperature of the patient rises slowly, and the fever fluctuations are generally seen with relative bradycardia, malaise, headache, and cough.
A bloody nose is also seen in this quarter of the disease and abdominal pain is also possible. There is also a decrease in the number of WBCs. Widal test is negative in the first week of the disease.
• In the second week, the person is often too tired to get up, with a very high fever and bradycardia is continued in this stage also with dicrotic pulse wave. In this stage, Delirium is frequent which gives the typhoid another name i.e. NERVOUS FEVER.
Rose spots also appear on the lower chest and abdomen. Rhonchi are heard in lung bases.
Diarrhea can occur in this stage : six to eight stools in a day, green, comparable to pea soup, with a characteristic foul smell. However, constipation is also frequent. The spleen and liver is enlarged and liver transaminases are elevated. Patients can still test positive.
The major symptoms of this fever is that the fever usually rises in the afternoon up to the first and second week.
• In the third week of the fever, a number of complications can occur like :
Intestinal hemorrhage due to bleeding in congested Peyer’s patches: it can be very serious but is not usually fatal.
Intestinal perforation in the distal ileum: this is a very serious complication and is usually fatal.
Respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and acute bronchitis.
Neuropsychiatric symptoms with picking at bedclothes or imaginary objects.
Metastatic abscesses, cholestasis, endocarditis, and osteitis.
The fever is usually very high and oscillates very little over 24 hours. Dehydration is also caused.
Platelet count goes down and risk of bleeding rises.