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How is Typhoid fever spread?

Typhoid is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella Typhi that lives only in humans. Individuals who have typhoid fever carry the bacteria in their intestinal tract and blood. In addition, some people who recover from typhoid fever continue to carry the bacteria. Both sick people persons as well as carriers shed S. Typhi in their feces (stool).

A person may get typhoid if they consume food or drink that has been handled by a person who is shedding the S. Typhi bacteria. They may also contract typhoid if sewage contaminated with the S. Typhi bacteria gets into drinking water or water used for washing food.

How can Typhoid fever be avoided?

Following basic actions can be used to avoid typhoid fever:

  • Avoid eating risky foods and drinks.
  • Getting vaccinated against typhoid fever.
  • Buy bottled water or boil it before drinking.
  • Ask for drinks without ice unless the ice is made from bottled or boiled water.
  • Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled. Vegetables like lettuce are easily contaminated and are very hard to wash well.
  • Foods and beverages from street vendors should be avoided.

What to do if typhoid is suspected?

If Typhoid is suspected, doctor should be contacted immediately. Generally one of the three commonly prescribed antibiotics is given. These are ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and ciprofloxacin. Persons given antibiotics usually begin to feel better within 2 to 3 days, and deaths rarely occur. However, persons who do not get treatment may continue to have fever for weeks or months, and as many as 20 per cent may die from complications of the infection.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on:10-02-2011