Typhoid (enteric Fever)

Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India
First Created: 02/05/2001  Last Updated: 02/05/2001

Patient Education

What is typhoid?

Typhoid is an infection caused by a bacteria called Salmonella typhi. It leads to fever and is also known as Enteric fever.

How does typhoid spread?

Typhoid spreads through the contamination of food and water and ingesting these contaminated foods.

What are the symptoms of typhoid?

After intake of food or water contaminated with typhoid bacillus, the germ multiplies in the intestine for 10 to 14 days and then enters the blood leading to infection. Patients usually have a fever that rises over 2-3 days. They have toxic look, gaseous distension of the abdomen and a coated tongue. In a few patients, mild jaundice and swelling over the liver may be present.

What are the complications of typhoid?

Long-standing typhoid fever may involve any organ of the body and cause pneumonia, heart problems, infection in the brain, bones or joints. Sometimes bleeding and infection in the intestines may also occur.

How is the diagnosis of typhoid made?

Continuous fever may be one of the markers of typhoid fever. Blood culture and other blood tests such as the Widal tests are useful to make a diagnosis. However Widal test may be falsely negative in the early stages of the disease and may be falsely positive due to previous typhoid vaccine or due to fever from other germs.

What is the treatment for typhoid?

Treatment of typhoid consists of antibiotics, bed rest, low-fat diet, anti-fever medicines, and proper intake of fluids.

How is typhoid prevented?

Typhoid can be prevented by the typhoid vaccine. Two types of typhoid vaccines are available. One is available as a capsule that needs to be taken unbroken on alternate days. Total dose: 3 capsules. Other is an injectable vaccine that needs to be given intramuscularly as one shot. Both vaccines give protection for 2-3 years following which repeat shots may be required to ensure continued protection. Injectable vaccines can be given after 2 years of age and an oral vaccine capsule can be given after 6-8 years of age.

Drinking boiled water with regular washing of raw fruits and vegetables before consumption ensures reasonable good prevention.


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