What You Need To Know About Typhoid

Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease, caused by Salmonella typhi. It is transmitted through the ingestion of food or drink contaminated by the faeces or urine of infected people. This may be through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions, and sometimes also by flying insects feeding on feces.

Symptoms usually develop 1–3 weeks after exposure, and may be mild or severe. They include high fever, malaise, headache, constipation or diarrhoea, rose-coloured spots on the chest, and enlarged spleen and liver. Healthy carrier state may follow acute illness. A person may become an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever, suffering no symptoms, but capable of infecting others. 5% of people who contract typhoid continue to carry the disease after they recover.

Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics. However, resistance to common antimicrobials is widespread. Healthy carriers should be excluded from handling food. Typhoid is fatal in 20% of cases recorded if untreated.

Harare has warned of a typhoid outbreak which may spread to the rest of Zimbabwe. One would do well to take extra care of themselves.