Typhoid: Types, Causes, and Prevention Tips


Typhoid is a disease of varying consequences, but can also be life-threatening. It is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi. It is more likely to spread in areas without clean water or proper sanitation. While there are several typhoid reasons, most cases are caused by infected water and food. Typhoid is more common in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene.

Viruses in food and drink cause typhoid fever. Being near a person with the bacteria might also cause the disease. Its symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Headache.
  • Stomachache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating

The majority of typhoid fever sufferers see improvement within a week after beginning antibiotic treatment. However, there is a slight possibility of dying from typhoid fever complications without treatment. Typhoid vaccines can offer some level of protection. Read on to learn about typhoid causes and how to prevent yourself from this disease.

Types of Typhoid

Typhoid is of two types - typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever. Enteric fever is the umbrella term for both types. Typhoid and paratyphoid are systemic diseases brought on by consuming food or water infected with the Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella typhi causes typhoid fever, whereas salmonella paratyphi causes paratyphoid fever. Compared to typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever is less common and less severe.

Typhoid Fever Causes

Typhoid patients transmit the germs to others. As Salmonella typhi spreads by the fecal-oral route through polluted water, contaminated foods, and microbes (things that transfer virus) of infected patients, typhoid fever causes are more prevalent in areas with overcrowding, social unrest, and poor sanitation.

Typhoid is found only in humans; hence, it is transmitted from one infected person to another by direct contact or by carriers like houseflies or typhoid carriers, which carry the bacteria inside their bodies. Salmonella typhi, transmitted by one of the following methods, is often discharged into the feces and urine of the patients.

Unhygienic behavior:

Touching surfaces with unclean hands, cooking food without washing hands, and shaking hands with healthy people might spread the disease.

Transmission by houseflies:

Defecating outside, where houseflies might be present, can lead to the spread of the disease-causing pathogen to consumable items.

Poor sanitation:

In places with poor sanitation, contaminated human faeces can pollute water supplies. People who drink this water can fall sick with typhoid.

Other causes:

Typhoid can also spread through the consumption of fish that has come in contact with human waste or polluted water, or when human excrement is used as a fertilizer to grow vegetables.

When to See A Doctor

Consider seeing a doctor specialising in infectious illnesses or foreign medicine if you experience persistent typhoid symptoms. They can help you by diagnosing the disease and developing a treatment plan. If any of the following apply to you, consult a doctor:

  • You have come into contact with a person with typhoid.
  • You get typhoid fever after visiting an area where others also have the disease.
  • Your typhoid fever symptoms have returned after you thought you were cured.
  • You have new symptoms such as stomach discomfort, reduced urination, etc.

Tests for Typhoid

To check for typhoid symptoms, your doctor will collect samples of tissue or body fluids. Here are some tests doctors use to detect typhoid:

Growth of fluids or tissues:

Typhoid blood testing entails bone marrow and blood culture tests to detect typhoid. It also involves collecting samples from the infected person's waste.

The Widal test:

One of the most widely used diagnostic procedures for typhoid diagnosis is the Widal test, which checks for the O and H antibodies in the patient's blood sample.

Test using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR):

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) can distinguish between DNA-based serotypes, including the H and O antigen genes.

How to Avoid Typhoid

Typhoid fever vaccinations are available for individuals. If you live in an area with widespread typhoid fever, make sure your immunisation status is up-to-date. Preventive measures to avoid catching typhoid include the following:

Sanitise your hands regularly

To prevent infection, wash your hands multiple times daily with hot, soapy water. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and before cooking. If you do not have access to soap, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser instead.

Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables

Try not to eat fruits and vegetables you cannot peel, as they might have been washed in polluted water. Avoid eating raw foods for extra precaution.

Drink filtered water

In areas where typhoid is prevalent, infected drinking water might be a leading cause of the disease. Therefore, stick to bottled or canned water and beverages to prevent typhoid fever. When brushing your teeth, use bottled water, and avoid ingesting water while showering.

Consume hot dishes

Stay away from food that is stored or served at room temperature. Freshly prepared, piping-hot meals are comparatively safer to consume.


Typhoid is caused by Salmonella Typhi. Its symptoms include diarrhoea, high fever, and vomiting. If you live in or travel to a region where typhoid is prevalent, be careful when handling possibly infected food or water, and routinely wash or sanitise your hands.