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Typhoid is a severe, contagious and life-threatening disease. It is caused by contaminated food, drinks and water by bacteria called S.typhi, which may result in fever with severe complications.
Typhoid is the 5th most common communicable disease in India Each year more than 33 million people suffer from typhoid globally Typhoid is a major cause of absenteeism in schools and workplaces Children constitute about 69% of hospitalized typhoid victims in India Even sophisticated drugs are proving to be in-effective against resistant strains of typhoid bacteria. Typhoid is a major cause of death in developing countries, including India Typhoid mostly affects children of school-going age In adults and older people, typhoid is less frequent, but much more severe.

Typhoid fever is transmitted in several ways. The bacteria are disseminated by typhoid patients and carriers in large quantities through stools and vomit. The bacteria then find their way to food, drinks and water through house-flies and other insects. These contaminated food or drinks, when consumed, causes typhoid fever.

Raw vegetables grown on sewage-irrigated fields also act as a source of infection.The bacteria can survive in soil and water for several months. They grow rapidly in milk and milk-products.Typhoid carriers can harbor the bacteria for many years, posing a potential danger to healthy individuals. Unhygienic conditions in our surroundings are mainly responsible for the widespread infection.

Symptoms :

The incubation period is usually one to two weeks, and the duration of the illness is about four to six weeks. The patient experiences :
- poor appetite,
- headaches,
- generalized aches and pains,
- fever,
- lethargy,
- diarrhea.

People with typhoid fever usually have a sustained fever as high as 103 F-104 F (39 C-40 C).

Chest congestion develops in many patients, and abdominal pain and discomfort are common. The fever becomes constant. Improvement occurs in the third and fourth week in those without complications. About 10% of patients have recurrent symptoms (relapse) after feeling better for one to two weeks. Relapses are actually more common in individuals treated with antibiotics.


A carrier is a person infected with S.typhi, and may infect others, as the bacteria remain in the body for months. 3-5% of typhoid patients remain chronic carriers despite treatment.


Most common complications are intestinal bleeding and perforation.


Appropriate antibiotics have to be used. There is a growing incidence of resistant strains of the bacteria. Hence prevention is the best remedy.


Clean hygienic habits, drinking only purified water, abstaining from eating raw leafy vegetables and food left in the open. Vaccination is also necessary to prevent the disease: a single injection given 2 years onwards gives protection against typhoid for 3 years.