A highly infectious disease most often contracted in Asia or the Mediterranean
countries. Like PARATYPHOID it is an enteric fever—that is it affects the
intestines. Typhoid is caused by bacteria that live in human faeces. The
infection is spread by food, particularly shellfish, and water, contaminated by
flies. About } per cent of patients become carriers after they have recovered
from the disease. They probably harbour the infection in the gallbladder and
continue to excrete the bacteria in their faeces. They do not have any symptoms
and so do not know that they are still infectious. The only way of detecting a
carrier is by identifying the organism in the faeces. Carriers can start an
epidemic, particularly if they are food handlers, without knowing that they are
responsible. The possibility of infection is usually raised because the patient
has been in contact with the disease or in a community with poor sanitation.
- Prolonged fever. Often the first indication of serious disease is when the
fever is rising on the fifth day and after.
- Mental confusion.
- Abdominal pain.
- A rash of rose-coloured spots beginning in the second week of the disease.
- Constipation, which may be followed by diarrhoea.
- One to eight weeks, depending upon the severity of the
infection and treatment.
- There may be a relapse (recurrence of symptoms)
about two weeks after apparent recovery.
- A bacillus called Salmonella typhi.
Treatment in the home
- None. Consult the doctor if you suspect typhoid. particularly after returning
What the doctor may do
- Send the patient to hospital.
- Test specimens of blood, urine and faeces to confirm the diagnosis.
- If typhoid is confirmed, prescribe antibiotics.
- Isolate the patient.
- Good nursing care and replacement of lost Fluids by
frequent drinks are the main treatment.
- Immunisation against typhoid, which gives some protection for about three
years, is not compulsory, but is recommended for travellers going outside North
America or northern Europe. Any travellers would be wise to ask for tetanus
immunisation to be included.
A serious, acute infectious disease caused by a rickettsia—a minute organism
between a bacterium and a virus. There are various types of typhus, most of
which arc transmitted by lice in conditions of poverty, overcrowding and close
contact. Fleas, ticks and mites (scabies) may also spread some forms of the
disease: symptoms, which occur after an incubation period of seven to ten days,
are headache, fever and weakness, followed by a rash that appears first at the
armpits. Treatment by antibiotics such as tetracycline or chloramphenicol is
Prevention is by the control of lice with DOT or other insecticides. There is
also an effective vaccine available for those at high risk. Although still
serious, typhus is no longer the dreaded disease it once was. At the end of the
First World War it spread through eastern Europe attacking 50 million people. 3
million of whom died.
An inflamed break in the skin or in the mucous membrane lining the alimentary
tract. There are many different kinds of ulcer, ranging from the small ulcers that appear inside the mouth, to the more serious gastric, duodenal and
Temporary loss of consciousness may last only a few seconds or several minutes
and has many causes. Deep unconsciousness is Coma.
A disease of cattle, pigs and goats, also known as brucellosis. It is sometimes
caught by people such as farmers or vets who are in contact with infected