What causes typhoid fever?


Quick Answer

Two types of bacteria, Salmonella typhi and Salmonella paratyphi, cause typhoid fever, according to WebMD. People can contract typhoid fever by eating or drinking contaminated food and water.

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Full Answer

Common symptoms of typhoid fever include continuous high fever, diarrhea, frequent headaches and decreased appetite, explains WebMD. Treatment options for typhoid fever include antibiotics or, in some cases, the removal of infected organs, such as the gallbladder. Death can occur if the infection spreads throughout the body, or if patients develop pneumonia or intestinal bleeding.

Medical tests, such as stool and blood samples, help to identify the presence of S. typhi and S. paratyphi, states WebMD. After entering the body, the bacteria travel to the small intestine, then they enter the bloodstream. The bacteria may infect the liver, spleen and bowels. The incubation period of the bacteria is one to two weeks. Symptoms of typhoid fever may last three to four weeks.

As of 2015, two vaccines are available to help prevent the spread of typhoid fever, according to the Mayo Clinic. Travelers to developing nations and other areas where typhoid fever is present should wash their hands frequently, avoid drinking contaminated water, and avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables. Travelers should also avoid eating food prepared by street vendors.

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