(Enteric Fever; Paratyphoid Fever)
Typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever are serious illnesses. It occurs most often in developing countries where sanitation is poor. Typhoid fever is rare in the United States. These fevers can be fatal, especially when not treated.
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Typhoid fever is caused by eating foods or drinking beverages contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria. Contamination can occur from:
- Food or drinks handled by someone who is sick or coming down with typhoid fever
- Food or drinks handled by someone who has no symptoms but carries the bacteria
- Sewage contamination of water or food
- Unpasteurized dairy products
- Poultry products left unrefrigerated
The bacteria infects the intestine. From the intestine it can enter the bloodstream and move to other organs.
Factors that increase your risk of typhoid fever include:
- Drinking contaminated water
- Eating raw shellfish
- Eating fruits and vegetables that are raw or have been washed with contaminated water
- Living in, or recent travel, to a country with poor sanitation
Symptoms may include:
- Fever, often over a long period of time
- Severe headaches
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Rose-colored spots on the body
- Muscle pains
- Swelling of the neck glands, liver, or spleen
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Typhoid fever is usually diagnosed with a blood culture.
Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics.
Typhoid fever is very contagious until treated. In a small number of cases, people may become typhoid carriers even after the illness has passed. People who