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What Causes Typhoid Fever?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Typhoid fever is caused by a type of bacteria called salmonella typhi. Many people confuse this type of bacteria with salmonella, but the two are not exactly the same. It is possible to catch typhoid fever by coming in direct contact with another person who has it. The bacteria that causes the fever is also occasionally passed through food and water that has been contaminated with it. Typhoid fever is usually more of a problem in underdeveloped countries than it is in industrialized nations, and most people who contract the illness who live in developed countries have often just returned from traveling to countries where typhoid fever is common.

People who have typhoid fever may notice flu-like symptoms a few days after the bacteria has entered their systems. In most cases, an extremely high fever is very common with the illness as well as extreme fatigue and body aches. Stomach problems are also a common symptom of typhoid fever and may manifest in the form of vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain. Some people also develop rashes across their chests and stomachs. If no treatment is received, symptoms could worsen over the course of two to three weeks, which may ultimately result in death.

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The fact that typhoid is caused by bacteria means that it can be successfully treated with antibiotics. There are a few different types of antibiotics that doctors use to treat it, and people who contract typhoid in countries that are developed are usually successfully cured. In underdeveloped countries, antibiotics tend to be more scarce, and it is not uncommon to hear of people dying from typhoid fever due to no antibiotic availability. When antibiotics aren't available, people often try to treat typhoid by drinking lots of water in an attempt to flush the bacteria out of their systems while also getting lots of rest. These methods are occasionally successful, and people sometimes fully recover from typhoid even though they did not receive antibiotics.

People who are planning to travel to countries where typhoid fever is problematic should take care to prevent contracting the illness. There are some vaccines available for typhoid, and even though these vaccines aren't 100 percent guaranteed to protect against the illness, chances of getting sick are much less likely in people who have been vaccinated. In addition to vaccinations, it's a good idea to be careful about drinking any water that isn't bottled. Hot foods are generally preferable over cold foods when trying to prevent typhoid because heat might kill the bacteria that causes the illness.

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