Typhoid: Signs and Symptoms

Typhoid is an extreme infectious life-threatening water borne disease. It spreads through contaminated food and water. As per WHO’s most recent estimates, 21 million cases are reported worldwide, and 2,22,000 people die annually.

What is Typhoid Fever?

It is an infection caused by bacteria Salmonella typhi. Bacteria is transmitted by coming in direct contact with feces of an infected person. Contamination generally occurs when sewage water gets blended with drinking water or when an individual consumes food or water that has been handled by an infected person.

How it spreads

Realistic rendering of bacteria - in green colors

An infected person can contaminate the surrounding water supply through his feces which contains a high concentration of bacteria. If an infected person handles the food or water without washing hands properly after urinating, he can spread infection to the person who consumes that food or water. A major source of this disease is polluted water. Due to a population explosion in India, Water has been highly polluted, therefore  this disease is a matter of worry especially in areas where sewage disposal and water supply is disrupted.

Other ways typhoid fever can spread include:

  • Eating seafood from a water source that has been contaminated by the feces of the infected person
  • Contaminated milk products
  • Eating raw vegetables which have been fertilized by human waste

How Typhoid affects the body

After consuming the food or water that has been contaminated by bacteria salmonella typhi, bacteria will enter digestive system where they will rapidly multiply. If left untreated it can enter bloodstream. Blood carries bacteria to different organs including kidneys, liver, lungs and gallbladder and can cause serious complications. Most serious complication of this disease is intestinal bleeding and Perforation.


Symptoms of typhoid usually occur within 1-2 weeks after getting infected. High Fever and rashes are two major symptoms of typhoid. Fever gradually increases over several days reaching up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. If left untreated it usually gets worse over weeks.

Other common symptoms of typhoid include:

Loss of appetite
Muscle pain
Stomach pain
Abdominal pain
Diarrhoea or constipation


Antibiotics are effective for treatment of typhoid. A course of antibiotic is given to patients. You may begin to improve within 2-3 days of taking antibiotics. Most of all the people who recover from typhoid continue to carry bacteria. Therefore, it is very important to complete the course of antibiotic to ensure that bacteria is completely removed from  body.

Drink plenty of purified water to prevent dehydration which results by prolonged fever and diarrhoea. Hence, the water you drink must be purified to reduce the chances of infection. Therefore,  water purifier should be installed at your home to ensure consumption of pure water. There are so many good purifiers available in the market. Kent is one of the leading brand in India which provides 100% pure and safe water.

In the case of severe complication such as intestinal bleeding which can be also life threatening sometimes surgery might be needed for the treatment.

Typhoid vaccines are now available. These vaccinations are recommended for those who travel in parts of the world where a risk of typhoid is very high. People must consult a doctor if they feel symptoms of typhoid. If a person is severely dehydrated he needs to receive fluids intravenously.

preventionHowever, vaccines are not completely effective. hence, the best way to prevent typhoid is to keep proper attention on what you eat and drink.

Following measures can be adopted to prevent typhoid.

  •  Drink only pure and safe water
  • Wash hand thoroughly with soapy water before preparing or eating food and after using toilets
  • Avoid using ice made of tap water
  • Avoid eating food from street vendors
  • Avoid eating raw vegetables and fruits


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