Typhoid Fever Prevention; How to protect household from Typhoid Fever

Publish by: Theophilus Izobofolo

“Women’s Empowerment”


Typhoid fever is a life threatening illness caused by the bacteria called salmonella typhi. It can be prevented and can usually be treated with antibiotics. Most often its symptoms are similar to that of malaria. It is the reason most physicians advise that typhoid be treated alongside with malaria.
However, Africa families’ battles with the ever increasing prevalence of the typhoid fever. This is a platform to educate ourselves about this highly contagious infection. By so doing, we keep abreast of ways of preventing typhoid’s existence in our homes. Wives and mothers are especially encouraged to participate in this awareness program.

How People Contract Typhoid Fever
Typhoid fever is contracted by drinking or eating the bacteria in contaminated food or water. People with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through stool, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. Contamination of the water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. The bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage.
About 3%-5% of people become carriers of the bacteria after the acute illness. Others suffer a very mild illness that goes unrecognized. These people may become long-term carriers of the bacteria — even though they have no symptoms — and be the source of new outbreaks of typhoid fever for many years.
Symptoms of Typhoid fever
1. Poor appetite;
2. Abdominal pain;
3. Headaches;
4. Generalized aches and pains;
5. Fever, often up to 104 F;
6. Lethargy (usually only if untreated);
7. Intestinal bleeding or perforation
8. Diarrhea or constipation.

Effect of Typhoid fever

Persons with typhoid fever usually have a sustained fever as high as 103⁰ to 104⁰ F (39⁰ to 40⁰). They also may feel weak, or have stomach pains, headache, and loss of appetite. The only way to be sure if an illness is typhoid fever is to have stool samples or blood tested for the presence of Salmonella Typhi.
Salmonella Typhi lives only in humans. Persons with typhoid fever carry the bacteria in their bloodstream and intestinal tract. In addition, a small number of persons, called carriers, recover from typhoid fever and continue to carry the bacteria. Both ill persons and carriers shed Salmonella Typhi in their feces (stool). You can get typhoid fever if you eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by a person who is shedding Salmonella Typhi or if sewage contaminated with Salmonella Typhi bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing. Therefore, typhoid fever is more common in areas of the world where hand washing is less frequent and water is likely to be contaminated with sewage. Once Salmonella Typhi bacteria are eaten or drunk, they multiply and spread into the bloodstream. The body reacts with fever and other signs and symptoms.

Treatment of Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics. Resistance to multiple antibiotics is increasing among Salmonella that cause typhoid fever. Antibiotic susceptibility testing might also help guide appropriate drug therapy. Persons who do not get treatment may continue to have the fever for weeks and months, and many may die from complications of the infection. Even if your symptoms seem to go away, you may still be carrying Salmonella Typhi. If so, the illness could return or you could pass the disease to others. It is important to keep taking the prescribed antibiotics for as long as the doctor has asked you to take them. Hand washing too, cannot be over emphasized.

Two basic actions that can protect you from typhoid fever:
1. Avoid risky foods and drinks: Boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it. If you drink water, buy bottled water or bring it to a rolling boil for 1 minute before you drink. Eat food that have been thoroughly cooked and that are still hot and steaming. Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled. Avoid food and beverages from street vendors.
2. Get vaccinated against typhoid fever: Contact your Doctor to get vaccinated.

Reference: Inanna Women Empowerment Foundation