Typhoid Fever: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Typhoid fever is a serious bacterial infection caused by the Salmonella typhi or Salmonella paratyphi bacteria. It is spread through contaminated food and water and is a significant public health concern, particularly in developing countries. While the prevalence of typhoid fever in the USA has decreased since the early 1900s, it is still a concern, with around 5,700 cases reported annually.

The symptoms of typhoid fever include fever, headache, weakness, stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, and a rash. It can be a life-threatening illness, and prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential.


The primary treatment for typhoid fever is antibiotics. Ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin are commonly used antibiotics in the USA, while azithromycin may be used if someone is unable to take ciprofloxacin or if the bacteria is resistant to it. In more complicated or severe cases, ceftriaxone may be used as an alternative to ciprofloxacin. It is essential to take the antibiotics as prescribed and to finish the entire course of treatment.

Hospital admission is usually recommended if you have severe symptoms of typhoid fever, such as persistent nausea, severe diarrhea, or a swollen stomach. In the hospital, you will receive antibiotic injections and may be given nutrients and fluids directly into your veins through an intravenous drip. Surgery may be required if you develop life-threatening complications of typhoid fever, such as internal bleeding or a part of your digestive tract rupturing. However, this is rare in people being treated with antibiotics.

It is also important to prevent the spread of typhoid fever by practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly, particularly before handling food, and avoiding eating or drinking from potentially contaminated sources. Vaccination is also available for people at high risk of contracting the disease, such as travelers to endemic areas.


Typhoid fever is a serious bacterial infection that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Antibiotics are the primary treatment, and hospital admission may be necessary for severe cases. Prevention is also crucial, and practicing good hygiene and vaccination can help reduce the risk of contracting the disease. If you think you may have typhoid fever or have been exposed to it, seek medical attention immediately.

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