How is typhoid fever treated?

Typhoid fever is a treatable disease and can often be cured with a full course of antibiotics, such as ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or ciprofloxacin. In some severe cases, treatment may require rehydration with intravenous fluids and electrolyte replacement therapy. With treatment, symptoms typically improve within two to four weeks. Symptoms may return if you have not been completely treated. To cure typhoid fever, you must take your antibiotics for as long as prescribed and follow up with your health care provider for a series of blood and stool tests to ensure you are no longer contagious.

A small percentage of people infected with Salmonella Typhi become carriers, which means that the bacteria are present in the intestines and bloodstream and are shed in the stool even after the person no longer has symptoms of disease. Because of the carrier effect, it is important to know that even after you receive treatment for typhoid fever you may still be able to spread the disease by contaminating food and water.

It is also important to prevent the disease by getting vaccinated before traveling outside of developed regions, such as the United States, Canada, northern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Immunizations are also recommended during epidemic outbreaks, although the vaccine is not completely effective.

What are the potential complications of typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever can last for weeks or months, and may become life threatening. As many as 20% of people with the disease may die from complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Source: CDC).

You can treat typhoid fever and minimize the risk of complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. The potential complications of typhoid fever include:

  • Adverse effects of treatment
  • Bowel perforation
  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Intestinal perforation and bleeding
  • Mental changes, such as confusion, hallucinations and delirium
  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining)
  • Return of symptoms if the infection was not completely cured
  • Sepsis
  • Shock


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  2. Typhoid Fever. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Typhoid Fever. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
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  5. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2013.
  6. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.
  7. Feigin RD, Cherry JD, Demmler-Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL (Eds), Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2009.
  8. Lynch MF, Blanton EM, Bulens S, et al. Typhoid fever in the United States, 1999-2006. JAMA 2009; 302:859.

What is typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever, also called enteric fever, is a contagious, potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella enteric serotype Typhi (also known as Salmonella Typhi), which is carried by infected humans in the blood and digestive tract and spreads to others through food and drinking water contaminated with infected feces. Symptoms of typ... Read more about typhoid feverintroduction


What are the symptoms of typhoid fever?

Symptoms of typhoid fever usually develop five to 21 days following ingestion of food or water contaminated with Salmonella Typhi bacteria and can last up to a month or longer. Typical symptoms of typhoid fever include:

  • Abdominal pain and tenderness
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Difficulty concentrating
... Read more about typhoid feversymptoms


What causes typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella enteric serotype Typhi (Salmonella Typhi). Salmonella Typhi can enter and infect the body through ingestion of contaminated food and water. Food can become contaminated with the bacteria by being washed in contaminated water or by being touched by an infected person with unwashed hands. Drinking water can become contaminat... Read more about typhoid fevercauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases

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