(Enteric Fever; Paratyphoid Fever)
Typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever are serious illnesses. It occurs most often in developing countries where sanitation is poor. Typhoid fever is rare in the United States. These fevers can be fatal, especially when not treated.
Typhoid fever is caused by eating foods or drinking beverages contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria. Contamination can occur from:
The bacteria infects the intestine. From the intestine it can enter the bloodstream and move to other organs.
Factors that increase your risk of typhoid fever include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Typhoid fever is usually diagnosed with a blood culture.
Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics.
Typhoid fever is very contagious until treated. In a small number of cases, people may become typhoid carriers even after the illness has passed. People who are chronic carriers can shed the contagious bacteria in their stool or urine. This condition can be treated with antibiotics or, in unusual cases, surgery.
Your doctor may also recommend medication to help reduce the fever. In general, rest and drink plenty of fluids.
There are two main ways to prevent typhoid fever:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Public Health Agency of Canada
Bhan MK, Bahl R, Bhatnagar S. Typhoid and paratyphoid fever. Lancet . 2005 Aug 27-Sep 2;366(9487):749-62.
Bui YG, Trépanier S, Milord F, Blackburn M, Provost S, Gagnon S. Cases of Malaria, Hepatitis A, and Typhoid Fever Among VFRs, Quebec (Canada). J Travel Med . 2011;18(6):373-378.
Johnson KJ, Gallagher NM, Mintz ED, Newton AE, Brunette GW, Kozarsky PE. From the CDC: New Country-Specific Recommendations for Pre-Travel Typhoid Vaccination. J Travel Med . 2011;18(6):430-433.
Typhoid fever. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov... . Accessed December 28, 2012.
Typhoid fever. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated September 14, 2012. Accessed December 28, 2012.
Typhoid vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov... . Accessed December 28, 2012.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Michael Woods, MD