Infections - Prevention, Diagnosis & Treatment

Enteric Fever: What are its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment?

By S.I. (staff writer) , published on August 22, 2023

Medicine Telehealth Health infection typhoid

What is an Enteric Fever?

Enteric fever, also known as typhoid fever, is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi bacteria. It is a systemic illness that primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract and can lead to severe symptoms if left untreated.



What are the Symptoms of Enteric Fever?

The symptoms of enteric fever can vary in severity and may develop gradually over time. Common signs and symptoms include [1]:


  • High Fever: Enteric fever is characterized by persistent high fever, often reaching temperatures of 103°F (39.5°C) or higher.


  • Abdominal Pain: Individuals with enteric fever may experience abdominal pain and tenderness, particularly in the lower abdomen.


  • Diarrhea or Constipation: Some people may develop diarrhoea, while others may experience constipation or alternating episodes of both.


  • Headache and Body Aches: Enteric fever can cause headaches, generalized body aches, and muscle weakness.


  • Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss: A decrease in appetite and unintentional weight loss are common symptoms of enteric fever.


  • Rash: In some cases, a rose-coloured rash may appear on the trunk of the body, along with small, flat, pink spots on the abdomen and chest. [2]




What are the Causes of Enteric Fever?

Enteric fever is caused by the Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi bacteria, which is primarily transmitted through contaminated food or water. The bacteria can survive in the gallbladder and intestinal tract of infected individuals, allowing them to shed the bacteria in their faeces and potentially contaminate the environment. Factors that increase the risk of contracting enteric fever include:

  • Ingesting Contaminated Food or Water: Consuming food or water that has been contaminated with the Salmonella Typhi bacteria is the most common way of acquiring enteric fever. This can occur due to improper food handling or inadequate sanitation practices.


  • Close Contact with Infected Individuals: Direct contact with an infected individual, particularly through exposure to their faeces or urine, can increase the risk of contracting an enteric fever.


  • Traveling to Endemic Areas: Enteric fever is more prevalent in certain regions with poor sanitation and hygiene practices. Travelling to these areas increases the risk of exposure to the bacteria. [3]




Treatment Options for Enteric Fever:

Prompt treatment is essential to manage enteric fever and prevent complications. Treatment options may include:


  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones or third-generation cephalosporins, are commonly prescribed to eliminate the Salmonella Typhi bacteria from the body. The choice of antibiotic depends on factors such as local resistance patterns and individual patient factors. [4]


  • Supportive Care: Adequate hydration and nutritional support are crucial during the recovery process. Oral rehydration solutions may be recommended to replace fluids and electrolytes lost due to diarrhoea.


  • Vaccination: Vaccines are available to prevent enteric fever, and their administration is recommended, particularly for individuals travelling to high-risk areas. Vaccination can reduce the risk of infection and its severity. [5]


  • Rest and Proper Hygiene: Getting plenty of rest and practising good hygiene, such as regular handwashing, can help prevent the spread of the infection and promote recovery.








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