Caused by Salmonella typhi, a bacterium related to the bacteria responsible for Salmonella poisoning, typhoid fever is a highly contagious bacterial infection. Spreading throughout the body, it can affect many organs and, if prompt treatment is not available, can lead to serious complications. In such cases, it may be fatal.
How typhoid fever spreads
Salmonella typhi is passed out of the bodies of infected individuals via their faeces or, although this is far less common, via urine. Anyone eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with even the smallest amount of these faeces or urine may then be infected and subsequently develop typhoid fever.
Because the disease is spread in this fashion, it is most commonly found in areas around the world where levels of sanitation are poor and access to uncontaminated, clean water is limited.
Typhoid fever in the UK
Though uncommon within the UK, NHS estimates suggest that approximately 500 cases of typhoid fever occur in the UK every year. It is believed that in most cases, sufferers were infected on holiday or contracted Salmonella typhi infections at work in high-risk foreign countries.
Typhoid fever symptoms
Symptoms of infections with typhoid fever bacteria commonly consist of:
- High temperatures/fever up to 40 degrees C (104 degrees F).
- Stomach pain.
- Diarrhoea or constipation.
Left untreated, the condition will gradually worsen over the coming weeks and may eventually lead to potentially fatal complications. Such complications may include severe internal bleeding or bowel/digestive system sections splitting open, resulting in widespread infection.
Treatment and prevention
Infections with Salmonella typhi can be treated successfully with antibiotics, providing treatment begins sooner, rather than later. If detected in its early stages, typhoid fever can be treated at home with orally taken medication. In cases where the condition has been allowed to get more serious, the sufferer may have to be admitted into hospital and receive antibiotic injections.
Typhoid fever vaccinations are available and recommended for individuals wishing to visit or work in areas where the disease is widespread. As available vaccines do not offer 100 per cent protection, drinking only bottled water and avoiding potentially contaminated food is also of utmost importance.
If you were infected with Salmonella typhi at work or on holiday, you may be eligible for personal injury compensation. Speak in complete confidentiality to an adviser of Accident Advice Helpline to discuss your claim potential.
So for expert legal advice about a possible claim call Accident Advice Helpline today on: 0800 689 0500 from a landline or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.
Date Published: February 13, 2014
Author: David Brown