How to tell if you have typhoid

Typhoid fever is a life threatening bacterial infection that is often passed on through contaminated food and drinking water. It is more prevalent in places that lack access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation.

Once the bacteria that causes typhoid fever is consumed, it travels from the digestive system into the blood. The bacteria multiply in the gallbladder, bile ducts, or liver and passes into the bowel.

The typhoid bacteria can survive for weeks in water, ice or dried sewage and these may become sources of infection.

It is preventable by vaccination and can be treated effectively using antibiotics.

Signs and symptoms of typhoid

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain and peritonitis
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Generalized aches and pains
  • High fever and chills
  • Muscle weakness
  • Intestinal bleeding or perforation
  • Diarrhea (mostly in younger children) or constipation (mostly in older children and adults)


  • Ensure food is properly cooked and still hot when served.
  • Avoid raw milk and products made from raw milk. Drink only pasteurized or boiled milk.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently using soap and water especially after visiting the toilet.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables carefully (preferably under running water), especially if they are to be eaten raw.
  • Boil your drinking water if you are not sure of its source or safety.
  • Do not prepare or serve food if you are infected, this will lower the chances of spreading the infection to others.
  • Get vaccinated against typhoid fever.


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