Typhoid is a bacterial disease transmitted through contaminated food and water. The risk of Typhoid is thought to be in the region of 1/3,000 to 1/5,000 for the International Traveller to the tropics – especially for those visiting parts of India. It is a very contagious disease and requires urgent treatment.
Mode of Infection:
The disease is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Insects may also play a role in transferring contaminated material to food for human consumption. The incubation period is usually between 10 to 14 days after infection.
Typically the disease presents with fever and severe headaches. Despite the high fever and the severity of the symptoms many patients will show the characteristic slowing of their heart rate. Patients may also have either constipation or diarrhoea. If diarrhoea is present it may show the characheristic green pea-soup appearance which is so common in both salmonella and shigella infections. The bacteria may escape from the intestinal into the blood stream and cause either a bacteraemia or a full septacaemia.
Various drugs are used to treat this condition. Most commonly nowadays Ciprofloxacin gives good rapid blood levels but it needs to be continued for between 10 days to 2 weeks. In developing countries Chloramphenicol is still widely used despite its potential to cause serious bone marrow toxicity.
Typhoid Vaccine: Confers immunity to Typhoid fever for a minimum of three years.