Is Typhoid Contagious?
The bacterium Salmonella typhi is responsible for causing Typhoid infection. This bacterium belongs to the species which directly cause food poisoning. It is highly contagious disease. The bacteria can be passed out of the body of an infected person in their stools or, less commonly, in their urine. One can become infected with the S.typhi bacteria and develop typhoid fever, if the person eats or drinks, the food or drinks that has been contaminated with a small amount of infected stools or urine.
Typhoid is more prevalent in underdeveloped countries like parts of Africa and Asia where people do not have good sanitation facilities. In such cases, an infected individual can contaminate food and water through human waste and when that food is eaten by others the infection spreads.
There are also some other ways through which typhoid can be spread. Some of them are, using toilets that are not clean, eating food without properly washing hands, having oral or anal sex with an infected individual.
It must be mentioned that up to 1 in every 25 people who survive typhoid without being treated become carriers of typhoid infection meaning that S. typhi bacteria continues to live in their bodies and spread through urine and feces. However, the affected individual need not have any visible symptoms of the infection.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Typhoid?
If typhoid is diagnosed in the initial phase, the physician may prescribe a course of antibiotics for eliminating the bacterium from the body. A standard course of antibiotics is roughly for a two week duration. There is usually improvement seen within 1-2 days and recovery within 7-10 days, with appropriate antibiotic therapy. So, it is highly important for you to finish the antibiotic course to ensure that the offending bacterium is completely eliminated from the body. The patient should consume lots of fluids to keep hydrated and eat a healthy diet everyday. Taking care of personal hygiene is also vital to cut down the risk of spreading the infection and hasten the recovery process from Typhoid.
In a few cases, there may be recurrence of symptoms which is medically termed as a relapse. After discharge from hospital or the complete antibiotic therapy, patients should be monitored properly for relapse or complications for 3 months, after the treatment has commenced. 5% to 10% of patients treated with antibiotics experience relapse of typhoid after the initial recovery. Relapses usually occur in 1 week after the antibiotic therapy is discontinued. However, there are also reports of relapse after 70 days.
Children below 5 years of age should abstain from going to school or daycare centers until complete elimination of the bacterium is confirmed through laboratory tests. The tests are done by taking three stool samples on a weekly basis. Moreover, people working with vulnerable groups like as the very young, elderly or those in poor health, should stay off work until tests show that the bacteria have cleared from their stool specimens in 3 stool samples taken at weekly intervals.
It must be strictly noted that without any treatment, about 1 in every 5 people with typhoid die. Untreated survivors of typhoids may shed the bacterium in their feces for up to 3 months.
Now, we know that typhoid is highly contagious and it takes at least 10 days to recover from typhoid after taking the prescribed medications. It is also essential for you to practice good hygiene. You need to contact your doctor in case your symptoms get worse or if you develop new symptoms while being treated with antibiotics at home.