Typhoid: Symptoms in kids, Causes, Vaccines & Treatment Plans
- Typhoid infection is a disease caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria. It spreads when the bacteria is deposited in food/water by an infected person/ typhoid carrier.
- While it is rare in industrialized nations, typhoid fever in children is more common in developing countries and regions. (South America, India, sub- Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia)
- While typhoid symptoms in kids are milder, children are still at higher risk of contracting the disease. Generally, symptoms of typhoid in children/ adults begin 1-3 weeks after exposure to the bacteria . Common symptoms include fever, rash, diarrhoea, weakness, and abdominal pain.
- One of the main effects of typhoid infection is the possibility of being a long-term carrier of the bacteria. These long-term typhoid carriers can be the source of new outbreaks for typhoid infections every year.
- Early detection can help treat typhoid infection effectively. Once the diagnostic tests for typhoid are performed, the pediatrician will recommend a suitable treatment of typhoid in children.
Chapter 1: What is typhoid disease?
Typhoid infection is an illness caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria. The disease spreads when the bacteria is deposited in food/ water by an infected person/ typhoid carrier. Typhoid infection can also be caused by Salmonella Paratyphi, a similar bacteria that causes a less severe infection. Typhoid is contagious as it is spread via fecal-oral route by human to human transmission. The bacteria enters through the mouth and stays in the intestines for 1-3 weeks. After this, it enters the bloodstream and spreads to the rest of the body. Typhoid in kids is diagnosed by detecting the presence of the bacteria in blood, urine, or stool samples.
While it is rare in industrialized nations, typhoid fever in children is more common in developing countries. According to WHO, Typhoid infection affects 11-21 million people annually. However, early detection of typhoid symptoms in kids can help treat the disease effectively.
Symptoms of typhoid in children:
Generally, symptoms of typhoid in children/ adults begin 1-3 weeks after exposure to the bacteria . Early symptoms of typhoid include:
Symptoms of typhoid in children can also reappear up to two weeks after the fever has subsided.
It’s understandable to be alarmed when your child experiences early symptoms of typhoid. Do remember that early detection can help treat typhoid infection effectively. In any case, it is crucial to seek out proper medical care for typhoid fever in children. Consulting a pediatrician can help identify your child’s typhoid causes. In addition to this, a regular full-body health checkup once a year can help understand the state of your child’s health and the areas that require improvement. You can have an instant consultation with a doctor on MFine, or you can avail of a comprehensive health check-up package or a specific condition-based health package depending on your child’s lifestyle factors, dietary factors, age, and existing medical conditions if there are any.
Chapter 2: What causes typhoid fever?
As previously mentioned, typhoid fever in children is often caused by Salmonella Typhi bacteria. In some cases, a less severe typhoid infection is caused by Salmonella Paratyphi bacteria. These bacteria should not be confused with the one that causes the foodborne illness- salmonella.
If you are wondering what causes typhoid fever, the following are the methods of transmission:
In this transmission route, Salmonella Typhi spreads through the feces/ urine of the infected person. When these bacteria deposit in food/ water, it leads to contamination. The bacteria enters the body when the child comes in contact with the contaminated food/ water. Developing countries/ regions have a higher incidence of typhoid infection due to poor sanitation.
One of the main effects of typhoid infection is the possibility of being a long-term carrier. A small number of children (3% to 5%) can continue to carry the bacteria in their gallbladder after recovery. They are capable of shedding the bacteria via stool and urine and infecting others, even when various typhoid symptoms in kids are not shown. These long-term typhoid carriers can be the source of new outbreaks for typhoid infections every year.
Risk factors for typhoid in kids
Typhoid fever in children remains a worldwide threat, especially in the developing regions of the world. While typhoid symptoms in kids are milder, children are still at higher risk of contracting the disease. The following are the risk factors for typhoid infection:
- Living in areas with poor sanitation.
- Traveling to areas where chronic typhoid is established as endemic.
- Having close contact with someone who has been recently diagnosed with typhoid infection.
- Eating/ drinking contaminated food or water due to poor sanitation measures.
Complications of typhoid
The most severe complication/ effect of typhoid is intestinal bleeding/ intestinal perforation. This perforation develops from an ulcer and inflammation in the intestine due to the diseases. A perforation (hole) in the intestine can cause intestinal contents to leak into the abdominal activity. This can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, bleeding manifestations, distended abdomen, infection, etc. This complication is life-threatening and requires urgent medical care.
Complications occur when treatment is delayed in the first week of the infection. Other possible complications include:
- Bone and Joint infections
- Meningitis (inflammation of the protective layers in the brain and spinal cord)
- Endocarditis (Inflammation of the heart lining and valves)
- Myocarditis (Inflammation of the heart muscles)
- Kidney/ bladder infections
- Profound illness
Chapter 3: What are the diagnostic tests for typhoid?
If you are wondering how to cure typhoid fever, it can be done after receiving an accurate typhoid diagnosis. Once you receive your child’s diagnosis, the doctor will recommend treatment options accordingly.
- Firstly, the pediatrician will understand the typhoid symptoms in kids by asking questions. Ensure you know the symptoms experienced by your child and for how long.
- Next, the doctor will ask about medical history and travel history. Your doctor will also ask about your child’s vaccination history.
- However, typhoid infection is confirmed only after detecting the presence of the bacteria in a culture test. For a bacteria culture test, a sample of your child’s urine, stool or blood is collected and placed in a medium that encourages bacterial growth.
- In some cases, the typhoid antibody test, or typhoid DNA test may be used to diagnose suspected typhoid in kids.
Once the diagnostic tests for typhoid are performed, the pediatrician will recommend a suitable treatment of typhoid in children.
Chapter 4: What are the various typhoid fever treatments?
The only effective treatment of typhoid in children is through antibiotics. The pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics based on your child’s body type and severity of the condition. Do remember that these medications need to be consumed under medical supervision only.
Other treatments of typhoid in children also include:
- Drinking more water: Fever and diarrhoea are some of the prolonged typhoid symptoms in kids; thus, resulting in severe dehydration. To combat this, it is essential to maintain hydration by drinking adequate water.
- Surgery: In severe cases of typhoid infection, the person’s intestines may be perforated and can lead to internal bleeding. In such cases, emergency surgery will be required.
Chapter 5: What are the typhoid fever prevention steps?
While it is crucial to have clean drinking water and appropriate sanitation for typhoid fever prevention, it may be challenging to achieve, especially in developing nations. In such cases, medical experts believe that vaccinating high-risk individuals can control the spread of the disease.
1. Vaccination for typhoid infection
Vaccination is recommended if you/ your child are living in or traveling to high-risk areas. In India, the National Vaccination Schedule has typhoid vaccines for babies since it is common in the Indian subcontinent.
There are two types of vaccines available. They are:
- Injection:In India, this vaccine is injected into a child’s body at an early age since typhoid is a common infection. It is also injected 1-2 weeks before traveling to high-risk areas. This type of vaccine is not necessarily one-shot, and will require boosters. If your child was vaccinated in the past, consult a pediatrician if it’s time for a booster vaccination.
- Oral vaccine:This type of vaccine is consumed as four oral capsules. Each capsule is taken every other day. The last capsule needs to be taken 1 week before the travel. However, these vaccines are rarely given.
It is imperative to understand that neither vaccines are 100 percent effective and one needs to stay cautious while eating and drinking. Both vaccines require immunization as vaccine effectiveness reduces with time.
2. Avoiding typhoid fever in children
As previously mentioned, vaccines cannot provide complete immunity against the disease. Thus, it is important to follow these guidelines while traveling to high-risk areas:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water regularly. Carry an alcohol-based sanitizer to use when clean water is unavailable.
- Do not drink untreated water. Always drink bottled/ canned water to avoid the risk of developing typhoid symptoms in kids.
- Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables. Most often, raw produce is cleaned in untreated water. For this reason, it is safer to avoid consuming raw foods entirely.
- Eat hot foods. Avoid consuming food that is stored at room temperature. Eat freshly cooked food at all times.
Chapter 6: Consulting a doctor for typhoid symptoms in kids
Typhoid fever in children can be managed and treated. The correct diagnosis using appropriate diagnostic tests for typhoid is the key to receiving a suitable treatment plan. A pediatrician can best diagnose this disease and suggest the way forward based on the severity of the condition. If your child faces severe typhoid symptoms, you must see a pediatrician right away. At MFine, we enable the patients to live a healthier life with modern medical services.
We ensure that the best treatments for typhoid in children are made available to our patients for every stage of the condition. Get in touch with our team of highly-qualified doctors and healthcare professionals for any medical advice or assistance. We, at MFine, provide you with a holistic healthcare treatment program as per your bodily needs and requirements. You can also check our MFine app for a list of the best pediatricians in your city with whom you can chat or video call to get answers for your medical queries!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does typhoid fever last after treatment?
If diagnosed during the early stages, most patients notice recovery within 7-14 days of treatment. It is crucial to consume antibiotics as prescribed by a doctor only.
What age group does typhoid fever affect?
Several studies have shown that typhoid infection predominantly affects school-aged children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 25. It is important to strictly follow safety guidelines if you and your child are traveling to high-risk areas.
Is Typhoid curable?
While typhoid is considered a dangerous disease, it can be effectively treated with the help of antibiotics. Antibiotics are consumed to kill the salmonella typhi bacteria in the infected person. Use antibiotics under medical supervision only.
How do I book an appointment with a general physician online?
To schedule an instant appointment, download the MFine app, search for a pediatrician, and fill out your details. You can then get in touch with a top pediatrician online from the comfort of your home. You can discuss your health concerns comfortably as MFine takes your privacy very seriously. With a safe and secure platform, we ensure that the discussions between you and your doctor strictly remain confidential.