Sometimes known as enteric fever, typhoid is caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi and paratyphoid by the bacterium Salmonella paratyphi. The incubation period is usually between 8 and 14 days. Symptoms include fever, malaise, slow pulse, spleen enlargement, rose spots on the trunk and constipation or sever diarrhoea. The fatality rate for typhoid is between 2% and 10%. Paratyphoid is generally much less severe and symptoms may be similar to food poisoning caused by salmonella.
The organism is excreted in the faeces and urine of patients and carriers. Enteric fever may be water borne, due to contamination by sewage, or food borne, for example, milk or cooked meat contaminated by polluted water or by carriers who are food handlers. Laboratory confirmation is by bacteriological examination of blood, faeces and urine.
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