All you need to know about typhoid fever

An african woman who is sick, lies and recovers in her hospital bed

Mary Mallon was a cook who infected 53 people with typhoid fever, three of whom died. She was the first person identified as an asymptomatic carrier (which means she showed no signs of the disease but could still spread it). She persisted in working as a cook, by which she exposed others to the disease, she was forced into quarantine by authorities twice and died after a total of nearly three decades in isolation.

What do you know about typhoid fever? You have most likely suffered from it a few times, especially if you live in a developing country like Nigeria.

Typhoid fever is a potentially severe illness caused by a bacteria called Salmonella Typhi, even though other salmonella strains (paratyphi A, B or C) can also cause similar diseases.

It spreads through contaminated food and water (fecal-oral transmission) or through close contact with someone infected (for example, when you share their cups and spoons).  Typhoid fever is most prevalent in impoverished areas that are overcrowded with poor access to sanitation and clean water.

Symptoms of Typhoid Fever

  • Chest rash
  • Fever and chills
  • Weakness
  • Constipation or diarrhea (sometimes bloody stools)
  • Headaches
  • Delirium and hallucinations
  • Severe fatigue

If you experience most of these symptoms together, then it is time to visit a health professional.

Diagnosing Typhoid Fever

Asides from knowing the signs and symptoms of this disease, it is essential to run some tests to be sure it is Salmonella Typhi. The most common test is the Widal test, but a blood culture must be done for higher accuracy.

Testing positive for typhoid

Treating Typhoid Fever

Antibiotic therapy is the only effective treatment for typhoid fever. Other than antibiotics, it is crucial to rehydrate by drinking adequate water to fuel your body and organs. In severe cases of typhoid, surgery may be needed if a patient’s bowel becomes perforated.

Preventing Typhoid Fever

  • Avoiding street food
  • Wash your hands often
  • Maintain strict hygiene at home especially in food and water handling
  • Vaccination

Self-medication without knowing the exact cause of a disease can lead to drug resistance which can make your condition worse and prevents your body from responding to certain medications.

Good news: Our HospiCash health coverage plan (formerly CashPlus Plan) now provides cover for typhoid tests and treatment. Our tests are stool MCS and blood culture tests which are just as accurate as the Widal tests, and drugs will be given to you if test positive for typhoid, at no extra cost.

Contact us on WhatsApp for more information on how to get tested for Typhoid or sign up for the HospiCash plan.

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