01/7How to avoid the spread of typhoid fever?
As common as typhoid fever is, it is as concerning and life-threatening. Given the advancements in medical fields, the illness has become an easily treatable disease. However, ignorance and delayed diagnosis can lead to severe health complications.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 11–20 million people get sick from typhoid and between 1,28,000 and 1,61,000 people die from it every year.

As far as India is concerned, a recent study published in Internet Journal of Infectious Diseases, estimated a national incidence of typhoid fever in India of 360 cases, per 100,000 person-years, with an annual estimate of 4.5 million cases, and 8930 deaths, assuming a 0.2% case-fatality rate.

Given the alarming date worldwide and in India, it is important to not only understand what the condition is, its signs and symptoms, but one must also know how the infection can spread.

02/7What is typhoid?
According to the UK’s National Health Services (NHS), typhoid fever is a bacterial infection, caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria, which is related to the bacteria that cause salmonella food poisoning. It can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs and without prompt treatment, the infection can cause serious complications and can be fatal.

03/7Ways typhoid can spread from person to person
There are several ways typhoid fever can spread from one person to another.

As per the NHS, the Salmonella typhi bacteria can be transmitted through an infected person’s stool, after they have been to the toilet. Furthermore, if the infected individual does not wash their hands properly afterwards, they can contaminate any food they touch.

Another way typhoid can spread is through an infected person’s urine. Again washing hands and maintaining proper hygiene plays a crucial role in curbing the spread.

In addition, people who drink contaminated water or eat food washed in contaminated water can develop typhoid fever.

The health body lists down other ways typhoid fever can be contracted:

  • Using a toilet contaminated with bacteria and touching your mouth before washing your hands
  • Eating seafood from a water source contaminated by infected poo or pee
  • Eating raw vegetables that have been fertilised with human waste
  • Contaminated milk products
  • Having oral or anal sex with a person who’s a carrier of Salmonella typhi bacteria

04/7Know the symptoms
As per the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of typhoid fever mostly develop gradually, often appearing one to three weeks after exposure to the disease. Some of the early symptoms include:

  • Fever that starts low and increases daily, possibly reaching as high as 104.9 F (40.5 C)
  • Headache
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Dry cough
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Rash
  • Extremely swollen stomach

If left untreated, symptoms may take a severe turn causing delirium and a condition called typhoid state, which means lying motionless or exhausted with your eyes half-closed.

05/7How to know whether you have typhoid or dengue?
Often the early symptoms of typhoid fever can seem similar to symptoms associated with dengue.

Best way to find out what you have is through a proper diagnosis. This can be done by analysing samples of your blood, poo, or pee. Note, you may need several tests, as the Salmonella typhi bacteria aren’t always detected the first time, as per the NHS.

06/7All about treatment
The U.K. Health body says that typhoid fever can usually be treated successfully with a course of antibiotic medicine. The infected can be treated at home, until it becomes severe and needs medical supervision.

Most typhoid fever patients need to take the prescribed medications for 7 to 14 days. Your symptoms should begin to improve within 2 to 3 days of taking antibiotics, shares the NHS.

On an individual front, you need to rest, drink plenty of water, eat proper, regular meals and maintain personal hygiene.

07/7Preventive measures to take
If you want to prevent getting infected with typhoid, you must take certain measures.

Make sure your drinking water is safe. Maintain personal hygiene like washing your hands frequently, avoiding raw fruits and veggies, and staying away from contaminated places, and also improve sanitation around your living space.

Most importantly, get yourself vaccinated, especially if you live in or are traveling to areas where the risk of getting typhoid fever is high.