Salmonella typhi (typhoid fever)
by Mark Weaver

DESCRIPTION: Salmonella typhi (more commonly known as the bacteria responsible for typhoid fever) can be very dangerous if not taken care of properly. This type of bacteria can only live in the bloodstream or intestinal tract of humans, but is also found in sewage. Even though most people either die or use antibiotics to stop the growth of these bacteria, a very small percentage of the people who get typhoid fever have certain antibodies that are able to restrict the growth of salmonella typhi and therefore are able to live. These people plus the people that are cured through antibiotics are called carriers because even though they will have no more symptoms of typhoid fever, they will still have the bacteria inside of them. Since salmonella typhi is passed through bodily fluids, you can contract it by eating some food or a drink handled by a carrier. You can also contract these bacteria by having food or water that has been contaminated with sewage containing salmonella typhi.

MOST COMMON VICTIMS: Salmonella typhi is a bacterium that can only live in the human bloodstream or intestinal tract. Therefore, its most common victims are humans in countries where the water is contaminated with sewage, which can sometimes contain salmonella typhi.

WHERE IT IS FOUND: Salmonella typhi is usually found contracted in the developing nations of the world such as the Latin American, African, and Asian countries. The reason for this is that the water in these countries is contaminated often with sewage that on some occasions is carrying Salmonella typhi.

SYMPTOMS: Typhoid fever can cause a variety of symptoms to occur to the person that has contracted Salmonella typhi. Some of the most common symptoms are severe headaches, abdominal pains, fevers, and diarrhea. Sometimes, rose-colored spots can appear on the abdomen and chest. One severe long-term effect that can occur is that the bacteria can produce ulcers on the intestinal walls. This can later lead to holes forming in the intestine walls and the allowing of the contents of the intestine to spill into the abdomen, causing severe abdominal pain and infection.

RATE OF DAMAGE: The symptoms of typhoid fever can begin to occur one to three weeks after the person has contracted Salmonella typhi. These symptoms then usually get the worst during the third week of symptoms and then subside. By the fourth week, many people do not have any of the symptoms of typhoid fever.

NUMBER OF VICTIMS: Typhoid fever affects about 400 people in the United States each year. Of these 400 people, 70% of them got the Salmonella typhi while traveling internationally. In developing nations though, 12.5 million people are affected by this disease each year.

WEAPONS AGAINST IT: Today, there are many antibiotics that are available to restrict the growth of Salmonella typhi. Some of these are ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and ciprofloxacin. The most effective weapon against Salmonella typhi though is good personal hygiene and public sanitation.

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Franklin, James L. "Typhoid Fever." World Book Encyclopedia. Vol. 19. Chicago:
World Book, Inc., 1993.
Songer, Dr. Glenn. "Lecture Notes: Pathogenic Bacteriology." (April 13, 2000).
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