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Monday, March 19, 2012

Health Talk; Typhoid Fever




Typhoid Fever
Typhoid fever is an infection that causes diarrhea and a rash -- most commonly due to a type of bacteria called Salmonella typhi (S. typhi).

Causes
The bacteria that cause typhoid fever -- S. typhi -- spread through contaminated food, drink, or water. If you eat or drink something that is contaminated, the bacteria enter your body. They travel into your intestines, and then into your bloodstream, where they can get to your lymph nodes, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and other parts of your body.

A few people can become carriers of S. typhi and continue to release the bacteria in their stools for years, spreading the disease.

Typhoid fever is common in developing countries, but fewer than 400 cases are reported in the U.S. each year. Most cases in the U.S. are brought in from other countries where typhoid fever is common.

Symptoms
Early symptoms include fever, general ill-feeling, and abdominal pain. A high (typically over 103 degrees Fahrenheit) fever and severe diarrhea occur as the disease gets worse.

Some people with typhoid fever develop a rash called "rose spots," which are small red spots on the abdomen and chest.

Other symptoms that occur include:

Abdominal tenderness
Agitation
Bloody stools
Chills
Confusion
Difficulty paying attention (attention deficit)
Delirium
Fluctuating mood
Hallucinations
Nosebleeds
Severe fatigue
Slow, sluggish, lethargic feeling
Weakness

Exams and Tests
A complete blood count (CBC) will show a high number of white blood cells.

A blood culture during the first week of the fever can show S. typhi bacteria.

Other tests that can help diagnose this condition include:

ELISA urine test to look for the bacteria that cause Typhoid fever
Fluorescent antibody study to look for substances that are specific to Typhoid bacteria
Platelet count (platelet count will be low)
Stool culture

Treatment
Fluids and electrolytes may be given through a vein (intravenously), or you may be asked to drink uncontaminated water with electrolyte packets.

Appropriate antibiotics are given to kill the bacteria. There are increasing rates of antibiotic resistance throughout the world, so your health care provider will check current recommendations before choosing an antibiotic.

Outlook (Prognosis)
Symptoms usually improve in 2 to 4 weeks with treatment. The outcome is likely to be good with early treatment, but becomes poor if complications develop.

Symptoms may return if the treatment has not completely cured the infection.

Possible Complications
Intestinal hemorrhage (severe GI bleeding)
Intestinal perforation
Kidney failure
Peritonitis


Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001332.htm
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