Typhoid Fever



The infection is caused by certain bacteria. It is in the stools and body fluids of an infected person. It can get passed into food and drinks. This can happen when an infected person has unclean hands. It can also happen if food and water are tainted with sewage.

Digestive System
Small intestines
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Risk Factors

Typhoid is common in places with poor sanitation. The risk of getting sick is highest in parts of India, Africa, and Asia.

Things that raise the risk are:

  • Having close contact with an infected person
  • Not having the typhoid vaccine
  • Having food or drink tainted by sewage
  • Not washing hands carefully
  • Having low stomach acid or taking acid reducers



Mild symptoms may be:

  • Low fever
  • Headache
  • Constipation—more common in adults
  • Diarrhea—more common in children
  • Rose-colored rash
  • Dry cough
  • A coating on the tongue
  • Lack of hunger

Severe symptoms may be:

  • High fever and chills—may last a long time
  • Belly pain
  • Changes in mental state


The doctor will ask about symptoms, health, and travel history. A physical exam will be done. The condition may be diagnosed with bone marrow biopsy, and blood and stool tests.



Typhoid is treated with antibiotics. Other options are:

  • Fluids by mouth or IV to treat dehydration
  • Medicines to lower fever or ease pain


In places where typhoid is common, the risk may be lowered by:

  • Getting a vaccine before traveling
  • Boiling water for drinking or cooking
  • Cooking food well
  • Washing hands often

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.