Typhoid is a bacterial infection that can lead to a high fever, diarrhea, and vomiting.

If typhoid is caught early, it can be successfully treated, but if not treated quickly it can be fatal. It is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi.

The infection is often passed on through contaminated food and drinking water, and it is more prevalent in places where handwashing is less frequent. It can also be passed on by carriers who do not know they carry the bacteria.

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Globally, around 21.5 million people a year contract typhoid.

What is typhoid?  

Typhoid is an infection caused by Salmonella typhimurium bacteria that is spread from human to human. (S. typhi).

The bacterium lives in the intestines and bloodstream of humans. It spreads between individuals by direct contact with the feces of an infected person.

Typhoid is a common bacterial infection in countries with low incomes.

Untreated, it is fatal in around 25 percent of cases.

Symptoms include a high fever and gastrointestinal problems.

Some people carry the bacteria without developing symptoms

No animals carry this disease, so transmission is always human to human.

S. typhi enters through the mouth and spends 1 to 3 weeks in the intestine. After this, it makes its way through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.

From the bloodstream, it spreads into other tissues and organs. The immune system of the host can do little to fight back because S. typhi can live within the host’s cells, safe from the immune system.

Typhoid is diagnosed by detecting the presence of S. typhi via blood, stool, urine, or bone marrow sample.


Symptoms normally begin between 6 and 30 days after exposure to the bacteria.

The two major symptoms of typhoid are fever and rash. Typhoid fever is particularly high, gradually increasing over several days up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, or 39 to 40 degrees Celsius.

The rash, which does not affect every patient, consists of rose-colored spots, particularly on the neck and abdomen.

Other symptoms can include:


abdominal pain



Rarely, symptoms might include confusion, diarrhea, and vomiting, but this is not normally severe.

untreated cases, the bowel can become perforated. This can lead to peritonitis, an infection of the tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen, which has been reported as fatal in between 5 and 62 percent of cases.

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Another infection, paratyphoid, is caused by Salmonella enterica. It has similar symptoms to typhoid, but it is less likely to be fatal.


Typhoid is caused by the bacteria S. typhi and spread through food, drinks, and drinking water that are contaminated with infected fecal matter. Washing fruit and vegetables can spread it, if contaminated water is used.

Some people are asymptomatic carriers of typhoid, meaning that they harbor the bacteria but suffer no ill effects. Others continue to harbor the bacteria after their symptoms have gone. Sometimes, the disease can appear again.

People who test positive as carriers may not be allowed to work with children or older people until medical tests show that they are clear.

Eliminating typhoid

Even when the symptoms of typhoid have passed, it is still possible to be carrying the bacteria.

This makes it hard to stamp out the disease, because carriers whose symptoms have finished may be less careful when washing food or interacting with others.

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Avoiding infection

Typhoid is spread by contact and ingestion of infected human feces. This can happen through an infected water source or when handling food.


Drink bottled water, preferably carbonated.

If bottled water cannot be sourced, ensure water is heated on a rolling boil for at least one minute before consuming.

Be wary of eating anything that has been handled by someone else.

Avoid eating at street food stands, and only eat food that is still hot.

Do not have ice in drinks.

Avoid raw fruit and vegetables, peel fruit yourself, and do not eat the peel.