Typhoid Fever – What Causes It?

Typhoid fever is a systemic disease (one that affects a number of organs and tissues, or affects the body as a whole) and can be life threatening.

It is caused by Salmonella Typhi Bacteria, which only affects humans, the illness it causes may be mild or severe. It is still common in the developing world, where it affects about 21.5 million persons each year.

It is caused by ingesting food or water contaminated by human wastes (feces and urine) carrying the bacteria. Once the salmonella typhi bacteria enter the body, they multiply and spread into the bloodstream. The body reacts with fever and other signs and symptoms.

Persons with typhoid fever carry the bacteria in the bloodstream and intestinal tracts. In addition to, a small number of persons called carriers recover from typhoid fever but continue to carry the bacteria. Both ill persons and carriers shed salmonella typhi in their stools.

You can get typhoid fever if you eat food or drink beverages that had been handled by a person who is shedding salmonella typhi or if sewage contaminated with S. typhi bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing hands.

A person may become an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever , suffering no symptoms but capable of infecting others. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately five percent of people who contact typhoid continue to carry the disease after they recover.

It can usually be treated with antibiotics, and early detection raises the chances of survival. Persons given with antibiotics usually begin to feel better within two or three days and deaths rarely occur.

However, persons who do not get treatment may continue to have fever for weeks or months and as many as twenty percent may die from complications of the disease.

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