Why is Typhoid Caused?

Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi (S. Typhi). This bacterium is responsible for infecting and causing illness in humans, leading to the development of typhoid fever. Here’s how typhoid fever is typically caused:

  • Ingestion of Contaminated Food or Water: Typhoid fever is usually contracted by consuming food or water that has been contaminated with the feces of an infected person. This contamination can occur when individuals with an active S. Typhi infection shed the bacteria in their feces. The bacteria can then contaminate water sources, food, or surfaces.
  • Fecal-Oral Transmission: Once contaminated food or water is ingested, the S. Typhi bacteria enter the digestive system. They can then multiply and invade the intestinal wall, leading to an infection.
  • Systemic Infection: After initial infection in the intestines, the S. Typhi bacteria can enter the bloodstream. From there, they can spread to various organs and tissues throughout the body, including the liver, spleen, and bone marrow.
  • Symptom Development: As the bacteria spread and multiply in the body, they can cause a wide range of symptoms, including high fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, weakness, headache, and in severe cases, potentially life-threatening complications.

Typhoid fever is a serious illness that requires medical treatment with antibiotics. Without treatment, the disease can lead to complications such as intestinal perforation, bleeding, and septicemia (bloodstream infection), which can be fatal. Proper hygiene, access to safe drinking water, and sanitation practices are essential for preventing the transmission of typhoid fever. Vaccines are also available to provide protection against S. Typhi and are recommended for individuals traveling to regions where typhoid fever is prevalent.