typhoid fever

typhoid fever acute, generalized infection caused by Salmonella typhi. The main sources of infection are contaminated water or milk and, especially in urban communities, food handlers who are carriers. The symptoms of typhoid appear 10 to 14 days after infection; they include high fever, rose-colored spots on the abdomen and chest, diarrhea or constipation, and enlargement of the spleen. Complications, especially in untreated patients, may be numerous, affecting practically every body system, and they account for the mortality rate of 7% to 14%. Perforation of the intestine with hemorrhage is not uncommon.

Chloramphenicol was previously the preferred treatment for typhoid, but side effects associated with the drug and increased drug resistance have led to the use of the antibiotics ciprofloxacin and, for pregnant women and some children, ceftriaxone. Antibiotic resistance, however, is an increasing problem in treating typhoid fever, particularly in developing countries. Skilled nursing care is still of the utmost importance, as is drinking fluids to combat dehydration and fever and consuming a high caloric diet to prevent wasting of the body. Vaccination against typhoid is a valuable preventive measure, especially for persons in military service and for those who live in or travel to poorly sanitized regions.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Typhoid: Selected full-text books and articles

The Epidemic Streets: Infectious Disease and the Rise of Preventive Medicine, 1856-1900 By Anne Hardy Clarendon Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Typhoid"
Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the "Immigrant Menace" By Alan M. Kraut Basic Books, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "A Plague of Nativism: The Cases of Chick Gin and 'Typhoid Mary'"
Yellow Fever, Black Goddess: The Coevolution of People and Plagues By Christopher Wills Addison Wesley, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "A Clever Pathogen"
Legal Memories and Amnesias in America's Rhetorical Culture By Marouf Hasian Jr Westview Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "'Typhoid Mary,' Bacteriology, and Progressive Law Courts"
U.S. History as Women's History: New Feminist Essays By Linda K. Kerber; Alice Kessler-Harris; Kathryn Kish Sklar University of North Carolina Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Gendered Expectations: Women and Early Twentieth-Century Public Health"
Contagion: Historical and Cultural Studies By Alison Bashford; Claire Hooker Routledge, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Typhoid Fever at Moorabbin: Sanitation, Epidemic Disease and the Milk Supply" begins on p. 133
Dangerous Places: Health, Safety, and Archaeology By David A. Poirier; Kenneth L. Feder Bergin and Garvey, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of typhoid begins on p. 79
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