Typhoid Fever: The Disease that Just Keeps Spreading, Just Keeps Spreading

May 4, 2018
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Typhoid fever is a continuous traveling disease that is common in particular parts of the world. Along with paratyphoid fever, typhoid fever is a type of intestinal fever. This harmful disease was discovered in 1880 by Karl Joseph Eberth, who found the triggering bacteria in the stomach. Each year typhoid infects millions and millions of people, and 200,000 people die in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America, where this disease is one of the top five causes of death. Typhoid fever is usually found in undeveloped countries where they have poor waste systems as well as unclean water. Although typhoid fever does not have a big impact in the United States compared to other countries, a few thousand people are still infected each year. To be fully educated about the illness of typhoid fever, one should know the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the disease.


The first step to be fully educated about typhoid fever is to understand the causes. Typhoid fever is caused by a parasite that lives in or on another organism. It benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense. This bacteria called Salmonella typhi, also known as salmonella poisoning, is in the same family of bacteria as a type spread by eggs and chickens (Carson-DeWitt 1). According to The Gale Encyclopedia of Science, “[typhoid] fever is passed from person to person through poor hygiene, such as incomplete or no hand washing after using the toilet. This allows Salmonella typhi to enter the food and water supply. The bacteria are ingested and then passed into the stool and urine of infected patients” (Carson-DeWitt and Davidson 3). In other words, one is able to get the infection by consuming products handled by another with typhoid fever who did not wash properly after using the bathroom.  (“Typhoid Fever: Causes” 1).  Once one consumes a product that is contaminated with the bacteria, it will travel into one’s body, infecting many organs (Vyas 1). The contamination of blood and the intestines is created by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. Although ingestion is the most common way to contract typhoid, direct contact between someone who is infected can also transmit the disease. Traveling to another region or country with infected locals can also increase the possibility of getting typhoid (“Typhoid Fever: Causes” 1).  Even if one did recover from typhoid,  there is still a small chance that people, known as chronic carriers, continue to have the disease. The bacteria is contained in their bodily waste, which puts others in danger of receiving the disease (“Typhoid Fever: Causes”). In order to understand typhoid fever, one must know how the destructive disease is caused.


In addition, one should know the symptoms of typhoid to be fully educated about the disease.  There are many symptoms of typhoid fever, ranging from inflammation of the gallbladder to intestinal bleeding. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped digestive system organ located on the right side of the abdomen. Once inflamed, it will become larger and build up fluid in organs (Carson-DeWitt and Davidson 4). One is also likely to experience a high fever such as 104.9 degrees Fahrenheit, which starts low but then increases daily, as well as a dry cough. The high fevers are caused by bacteremia, which consists of numerous bacteria in the bloodstream and lasts around four to eight weeks (Carson-DeWitt 2).  Weakness and tiredness due to lack of energy and strength are also a couple of the main symptoms (“Typhoid Fever: Symptoms” 1). “Some people develop a rash called ‘rose spots,’ which are small red spots on the abdomen and chest” (Vyas 1). Along with the developing rash, some also might experience chills (Vyas 1).  Pain in one’s muscles and joints can also be a symptom, as well as daily headaches (Carson-DeWitt and Davidson 3). Unfortunately, mood swings, nosebleeds, difficulty paying attention and hallucinations can be daily occurring symptoms (Vyas 1). “Signs and symptoms are likely to develop gradually-- often appearing one to three weeks after exposure to the disease. If not treated, these may return up to two weeks after the fever has subsided” (“Typhoid Fever: Symptoms” 1). Typhoid fever that is not fully treated will take several months to recover from the numerous complications that are caused (Carson-DeWitt 3).  In order to understand typhoid fever, one must know the many symptoms of the disease.


Finally, one should know the treatment of typhoid to understand the disease. The most commonly used treatment for typhoid fever is antibiotics. “The choice of antibiotic(s) used to treat typhoid fever is determined by the origin of the disease, sensitivity of cultures of the bacterium to specific antibiotics and response to treatment” (Carson-DeWitt and Davidson 5). The antibiotics that are recommended consist of ciprofloxacin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Ciprofloxacin is sometimes given as follow up therapy; trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is used to destroy the bacteria in the gallbladder without the need for surgery. In order to fix one’s gallbladder, it must be removed by surgery (Carson-DeWitt and Davidson 5). However, chloramphenicol is the most effective drug treatment for Salmonella typhi, improving the symptoms with twenty-four to twenty-eight hours (Carson-DeWitt 3). Contaminated water is also one of the main causes of getting this disease, so drinking only bottled or boiled water would be recommended. Ice should not be used in one’s drink or on any part of the body while healing due to the relationship with infected water (Aldridge 850). Many fluids such as water combined with electrolytes can be injected through the vein. Along with this, the infected will be provided with recommendations of variations of antibiotics (Vyas 2). The weakness and tiredness can be treated with lots of rest and water. In order to lower the fever and destroy a dry cough, pain medicine such as Advil or Ibuprofen are used (“Typhoid Fever: Symptoms” 1). “The culture of your blood or other body fluid or tissue is checked under a microscope for the presence of typhoid bacteria. Performing a culture test is the mainstay of diagnosis and another testing may be used to confirm a suspected typhoid fever infection” (“Typhoid Fever: Test and Diagnosis” 1). Understanding the treatment of this disease is important for recovery.


To know about this disease, one must understand the causes, symptoms, and treatments of typhoid fever. First, typhoid fever is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. One can obtain this bacteria by ingestion of food or water from person to person. Also, the symptoms of typhoid develop regularly. If these symptoms are not treated, recovery will take several months.  Patients usually experience symptoms that can be treated with antibiotics. One should also make sure water is clean. The future goals for the disease of typhoid are for people to receive cleaner water, know how to properly clean themselves after bathroom use, and have better sanitation in these endemic countries. Once these goals are accomplished, people are then able to live an amazing life free of typhoid fever.






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