The typhoid fever is a disease caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi, which causes an invasion from the intestine and spreads throughout the body.
This pathology is characterized by symptoms such as fever, chills, malaise, muscle and joint pain, enlargement of the liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly); a picture that is usually preceded by a stage of constipation or diarrhea. If left untreated, typhoid fever is potentially fatal, as the bacteria have the ability to spread throughout the body, including attacking the central nervous system.
The typhoid fever is transmitted through contaminated water and food with bacteria, so it is recommended to improve personal hygiene habits, boil water and cook proper food stop preventing the onset of this disease.
In Europe and the United States, the incidence of typhoid fever is very low, however, in Latin America the cases range from 10 to 100 infected per 100,000 inhabitants.
Learn more about this pathology in this article about the symptoms and origin of typhoid fever.
Symptoms of typhoid fever
This disease has no characteristic symptoms of its own. It is important that the patient with the following symptoms see their doctor, since other differential diagnoses must be established (for example: abdominal starting point sepsis, central nervous system infection, viral hepatitis, brucellosis, inflammatory bowel disease, mononucleosis, among others) depending on the geographic region where you are. The symptoms of typhoid fever are:
· Fever (in more than 75% of cases).
· Gastrointestinal symptoms: constipation is more common than diarrhea.
· Abdominal pain.
· Shaking chills.
· Growth of the liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly).
· In some cases, joint and muscle pain.
· In some cases, skin lesions (red spots or petechiae and bruises).
· In some cases, neurological symptoms such as disorientation, stiff neck, incoherent speech.
· Some people can carry the bacteria and not develop symptoms.
There is a curious fact with the appearance of fever in this disease: It is important to note that when a person has a fever from any other cause, their pulse increases in compensatory response. However, in some cases of typhoid fever, the doctor can explore a very interesting clinical fact, which is that when the fever appears, the pulse does not increase or slow down. This sign is known as Faget, although it is not specific to typhoid fever, it can guide the doctor in its diagnosis. It can also be seen in diseases such as yellow fever, leishmaniasis, severe dengue, etc.
Complications of typhoid fever
Complications are generally seen in people who do not receive treatment for several days, these can be:
· Intestinal perforation.
· Central nervous system infections such as meningitis or brain abscesses.
· Abscesses in any part of the body such as muscles, lung and heart, although in very exceptional cases.
What are the causes of this disease?
The main responsible for this disease is the bacteria called Salmonella typhi. There are species of Salmonella paratyphi that currently cause the so-called paratyphoid fever, which produces a disease with similar characteristics, but the symptoms are less severe.
The Salmonella usually stays in the human intestine and animals carrying bacteria, and is transmitted through contaminated food and water with feces. When ingested, it reaches the stomach, subsequently exceeds the acidic pH of the gastric juices and reaches the intestine. Then it enters the blood and invades the immune system, spreading throughout the body causing all the symptoms.
In patients with good defenses, the bacteria lodge in the gallbladder or intestine for a long time without causing symptoms (these patients are called carriers), while in patients with low defenses or in malnourished children it can trigger severe symptoms.
How is the disease acquired?
The Salmonella typhi can be purchased eating eggs, red and white meat (including poultry), fruits and vegetables, as they are all foods can be manipulated inadecuadamente.El case of eggs is particular by the fact that the chicken can put in contaminated areas and from there they can be taken directly for sale for consumption; situation that happens in many developing countries.
For all this it is recommended that the food be washed with previously boiled water and that it be subjected to a rigorous cooking process. Likewise, it is advisable to drink drinking water and wash your hands well before eating and after going to the bathroom.
Other very important recommendations are: do not extend the estimated shelf life of frozen foods and do not consume packaged or canned foods after their expiration date.
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