Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease caused by Salmonella typhi bacterium. The bacterium enters the body through contaminated food and water after it is shed by a person who is either infected himself or is a carrier.
Diagnosis of typhoid fever is based on the symptoms, which manifest themselves at different stages of the disease, and laboratory tests.
In the first stage of the disease, a person gets high fever, headache, weakness, fatigue, sore throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, and typhoid rash. It has been seen that children tend to get diarrhea while adults get constipated. The rash usually appears in the second week of the infection and it is in the form of small spots, which are rose colored and appear either on the lower part of the chest or upper abdomen. The rash usually disappears in two to five days.
Usually people get treated in the first stage of the disease with antibiotics. However, if the disease is not treated, it progresses to the second stage where the infected person gets extremely ill. The symptoms of the second stage include high fever, diarrhea that is colored like pea soup, extreme weight loss and distended abdomen. Instead of diarrhea, a person can also suffer from severe constipation.
When you go to a doctor for diagnosis of typhoid fever, he will suspect that it is typhoid based on your symptoms and travel history. However, a confirmed diagnosis is only done after the bacterium is identified in the blood, tissue or body fluid culture. The culture is prepared by placing a sample of blood, urine, stool or bone marrow in growth medium which is allowed to stand for 48 to 72 hours. Thereafter, the culture is checked under a microscope for the presence of Salmonella typhi bacterium. Once the bacterium is identified, typhoid fever is confirmed and the patient is treated with antibiotics.
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