Typhoid fever may sound like one of those diseases from hundreds of years ago, but it’s actually still around today. So, what exactly is it? With about 400 cases reported each year in the US, typhoid fever is an illness that’s caused by a kind of bacteria called Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi. The bacteria can contaminate food and water, and when the bacteria is ingested, typhoid fever can develop.
Once the Salmonella bacteria is in the body, it travels to the small intestine and into the bloodstream, causing the affected person to develop symptoms – most notably the high fever for which this disease gets its name. Other symptoms include:
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
While the fatality rate of typhoid fever used to be around 20 percent in the U.S., it has since dropped dramatically since the use of antibiotics became widespread. Now, most people start to feel better one or two days after they begin antibiotics, and fully recover after seven to 10 days.
If you or your child has symptoms of typhoid fever, all it takes is a simple blood, urine, or stool sample to confirm your diagnosis.