Typhoid: Signs and Symptoms

Typhoid is an extremely infectious life-threatening waterborne 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. Typhoid fever is very rare in the industrial countries but the diseases play a significant role in deteriorating the public health issue in the developing countries

How Typhoid Fever 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 the 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.

The Salmonella typhi bacteria is powerful enough to survive for weeks in water or even in the dried sewage and as a result, the person who is infected by this bacteria becomes the carriers of it after he/she becomes ill. The bacteria inside the person immediately starts to multiply in the gallbladder or even in the liver and then passes into the bowel. This chronic carrier person may not have any symptoms for quite a long time, but he/she can be the source of new outbreaks of this disease after many years.

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 Fever affects the body

After consuming the food or water that has been contaminated by bacteria salmonella typhi, bacteria will enter the digestive system where they will rapidly multiply. This bacteria is carried by the white blood cells to the liver, spleen, and bone marrow and starts creating a problem. If the bacteria left untreated it can enter the bloodstream and starts invading gallbladder, biliary system, and even the lymphatic tissue of the bowel. 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 Signs and symptoms of typhoid include:

Some of the common symptoms of Typhoid are mentioned below:

  • Headache
  • Loss/poor appetite
  • High Fever
  • 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 antibiotics to ensure that bacteria is completely removed from the body.

Drink plenty of purified water to prevent dehydration which results in prolonged fever and diarrhea. 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 on the market. Kent is one of the leading brands 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
  • Do not eat food from street vendors
  • Never eat raw vegetables and fruits

Since Typhoid is a life-threatening waterborne disease, you should ensure that you take complete care of yourself and ensure that you do not drink or eat contaminated water or food. Besides, if you experience fever, stomach pain, abdominal cram or diarrhea, it would be better that you go for an immediate check-up and take necessary steps to clear it at first stage.

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