Typhoid fever: causes, symptoms, treatment
Typhoid fever is an intestinal infection, provoked by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. This disease is rarely found in developed countries, but remains a serious threat to the health of people, and especially children, in underdeveloped countries. Each year, the disease affects 22 million people worldwide, it is endemic to India, the countries of Southeast Asia, South America and Africa. Typhoid fever is spread through contaminated water and food, as well as through direct contact with an infected person. When taking special vaccines and antibiotics, most people are cured, but there is a risk of death from complications caused by the disease.
In most cases, typhoid fever is caused by poor sanitary conditions. Bacteria are concentrated in feces and urine, so the transmission of infection most often occurs when eating food prepared by an infected person who does not thoroughly wash his hands after using the toilet. You can also get infected by drinking water contaminated with bacteria.In some people who have had typhoid fever, harmful bacteria remain in the intestinal tract or gall bladder for many years. Such chronic carriers of the infection can infect other people, although they themselves no longer have signs and symptoms of the disease.
Symptoms of typhoid fever appear gradually. In the first week after infection, symptoms include:
- temperature increase, increasing every day;
- dry cough;
- weakness and fatigue;
- headache and abdominal pain;
- loss of appetite;
- diarrhea or constipation.
If medical assistance is not provided within the first week, the disease progresses, leading to more severe symptoms: fever, diarrhea, or prolonged constipation; abdominal distention, significant weight loss. By the end of the third week, there may be delirium, inability to move, and fainting. During this period, life-threatening complications, such as intestinal perforation or intestinal bleeding, most often develop. Other complications may include inflammation of the heart muscle, pneumonia, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, psychiatric problems.In the fourth week, an improvement in the condition and a gradual decrease in temperature should begin. But even after the fever has passed, the symptoms may return.
To diagnose a disease, an analysis of typhoid fever is performed. During testing, a sample of blood, urine, feces, or bone tissue is placed in a special environment conducive to the growth of bacteria, and after some time under the microscope, the presence of antibodies is checked.
The only effective way to cure typhoid fever is antibiotic therapy, which involves taking antibiotics (“Ciprofloxacin” or “Ceftriaxone”). However, these drugs can cause side effects, and with long-term use of bacteria can become resistant to them. Other steps to recovery include maintenance therapy, consuming large amounts of fluid to prevent dehydration, and high-calorie foods to replenish lost nutrients.
Some experts believe that vaccination of high-risk groups is the best way to combat the disease.But the vaccine is unable to completely prevent typhoid fever. Prevention, and only it can help reduce the risk of developing the disease.