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Typhoid Fever – Protect Yourself Against It

Typhoid Fever. Protect Yourself Against It
Typhoid Fever. Protect Yourself Against It

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that can spread all over your body.

It is often mentioned as a common disease in Indonesia. Typhoid fever can affect many organs. Appropriate treatment is necessary because it can cause serious complications and even be fatal. A vaccination against Typhoid fever is available.

It’s caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi, which is related to the bacteria that cause salmonella food poisoning.

Typhoid fever is very contagious. An infected person can pass the bacteria out of their body in their stool or poo or, but also in their urine.

If someone else eats food or drinks water that’s been contaminated with a small amount of infected stool or urine, they can become infected with the bacteria, Salmonella typhi,  and develop typhoid fever.

Who’s affected?

Typhoid fever is most common in countries that have poor sanitation, hygiene and limited access to clean water.

Worldwide, children are most at risk of developing typhoid fever. This may be because their immune system (their natural defence against infection and illness) is not fully developed yet.

But children with typhoid fever usually have milder symptoms than adults.

You are also at risk when you live in Indonesia.

Symptoms of typhoid fever

The main symptoms of typhoid fever are:

  • a persistent high temperature that increases each day
  • headache
  • general aches and pains
  • feeling very tired (fatigue)
  • cough
  • constipation

The longer the infection lasts it will start to affect your appetite, you feel sick, and have abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some will develop a rash.

If the infection isn’t treated, the symptoms will continue to get worse over the following weeks and the risk of complications will increase.

How to diagnose Typhoid fever?

Ideally, Salmonella Typhi needs to be detected. This can be done through testing of several body fluids (blood, urine, stool and even bone marrow). Usually, a blood culture can confirm the presence of the bacteria. This takes time, however, and the result of a culture is only known after days or a week. A Tubex test provides a quick result, but it detects anti-Salmonella antibodies.

How typhoid fever is treated

Typhoid fever needs to be treated with antibiotics.

If typhoid fever is diagnosed early, the infection is more likely to be mild and the symptoms are not so severe. It can usually be treated at home with a 7- to 14-day course of antibiotics.

If you have more symptoms, typhoid fever might require hospital admission to provide antibiotics per injection.

With the right and timely antibiotics, most people will start to feel better in a few days and complications are very rare.

If typhoid fever isn’t treated, it’s estimated that up to 20%  of people with the condition will die. Others can have serious complications.

Typhoid fever vaccination

In Indonesia, there is a vaccine available that can provide some protection against typhoid fever.

Vaccination is recommended for anyone living or travelling in Indonesia. It’s important to get vaccinated against typhoid fever if you’re in a high-risk area because some strains of typhoid bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Vaccination is particularly important if you’re planning to live or work closely with local people.

But no vaccine offers 100% protection, so it is important to follow some precautions, mainly to do with hygiene. For example, you should only drink bottled or boiled water, and you should avoid foods that could potentially be contaminated.

Good Practice has registered patients from 80 countries. Try us. Our all-English-speaking team implements international guidelines. Contact us at 021 7183140 or [email protected]

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