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Typhoid Fever

What is typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection of the intestinal tract and occasionally the bloodstream. It is an uncommon disease with only 30-50 cases occurring in New York each year. Most of the cases are acquired during foreign travel to underdeveloped countries. The germ that causes typhoid is a unique human strain of Salmonella called Salmonella typhi. Outbreaks are rare.

Who gets typhoid fever?

Anyone can get typhoid fever but the greatest risk exists to travelers visiting countries where the disease is common. Occasionally, local cases can be traced to exposure to a person who is a chronic carrier.

How is the germ spread?

Typhoid germs are passed in the feces and, to some extent, the urine of infected people. The germs are spread by eating or drinking water or foods contaminated by feces from the infected individual.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may be mild or severe and may include fever, headache, constipation or diarrhea, rose-colored spots on the trunk and an enlarged spleen and liver. Relapses are common. Fatalities are less than 1 percent with antibiotic treatment.
If you have typhoid fever you may have the following symptoms: 

  •  constant fever up to 104° 
  • •  diarrhea 
  • •  constipation 
  • •  stomach pain 
  • •  headache 

  • malaise 
  • •  nonproductive cough 
  • •  slow heart rate (bradycardia) 
  • •  anorexi

How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?

Symptoms usually occur within 1-2 weeks after exposure to the bacteria, but can occur from 3 
days - 3 months after exposure. 

How is typhoid fever diagnosed?

Only your doctor can tell if you have typhoid fever.  A blood or stool sample is needed to 
diagnose typhoid fever.  The samples are examined for S. typhi bacteria. 

Treatment :

Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics.  A person will usually recover in 2-3 days with prompt 
antibiotic treatment.  People that do not get prompt medical treatment may continue to have a 
fever for weeks or months, and as many as 20% may die from complications of the infection.

If you are being treated for typhoid fever, it is important to do the following: 
•  Take the prescribed antibiotics for as long as the doctor has asked you to take them.  
•  Wash your hands carefully with soap and water after using the bathroom 
•  Do not prepare or serve food to other people.  
•  Have your doctor collect follow-up stool samples to ensure that no S. typhi bacteria 
remain in your body. 


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