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What Is Typhoid Fever?

Typhoid fever (or typhus) is a serious acute infectious disease, still widespread in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America

Typhoid is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi and occurs after an incubation period of one to three weeks, depending on the amount of bacteria ingested.

Typhoid fever, how is typhoid transmitted?

Typhoid can be transmitted by fecal-oral route, through direct contact or, more commonly, by ingesting food and drink contaminated with the faeces of a typhoid patient or carrier of the bacterium.

Interhuman contagion is also possible through oral-genital sexual practices or by bringing dirty hands to the mouth.

How typhoid fever manifests itself

Fever, headache, lack of appetite, abdominal pain and alternating bowel movements are some of the most frequent symptoms of the disease.

Characteristic symptoms, although not always present, are those related to cerebral involvement, i.e. delirium, a state of psychic dullness, which can progress to deep coma.

How it is prevented

The observance of common hygiene rules is essential, and proper personal hygiene after defecation is necessary.

Typhoid fever, the ingestion of potentially infected food must be avoided:

  • raw or inadequately cooked meat and meat products, poultry and poultry products;
  • raw eggs (including shells) and egg preparations (e.g. cream cakes, mayonnaise and ice cream)
  • raw or incompletely cooked fish and seafood.

Diagnosis and treatment

Typhoid fever can be diagnosed by detection and isolation of bacterial strains in blood, faeces and urine, but mainly by the ‘Widal-Wright reaction’ (the technique used to detect the presence of Salmonella typhi antibodies)

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