Paratyphoid fever due to Salmonella contamination

Paratyphoid fever is an intestinal infection that is transmitted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. It is a type of Salmonella bacteria that causes contamination through human or animal feces. Contamination can cause abdominal pain, nausea, fever and diarrhea. Fortunately, this condition is easily treatable. Travelers from the Western world to Southeast Asia, Africa and other poorer countries in particular must be careful of contamination.

What paratyphoid means

Paratyphoid fever is a contagious intestinal infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella paratyphi . This disease is spread almost exclusively by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with feces from people or animals that carry this bacteria. These pathogens enter the body through the intestines and the bacteria will infect the rest of the body through the bloodstream.

Related to typhoid fever

Paratyphoid fever is closely related to typhoid fever, which is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. Paratyphoid fever is less common than typhoid fever. It is similar to typhoid fever, but the course is less severe and there are fewer serious complications.

Where does it occur?

Paratyphoid fever often occurs when food or drinking water comes into contact with contaminated sewage water. This is mainly in Southeast Asia, the Far East, the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America. This disease is widespread in these areas. Paratyphoid can also occur elsewhere.


As already mentioned, contamination with this bacterium mainly occurs through contaminated food or water. It is very contagious. People can be infected and are called carriers. They can easily transmit this disease to other people. There are also carriers of the bacterium Salmonella paratyphi who do not show any symptoms themselves.


The first symptoms often appear approximately 8 to 48 hours after infection. These include: nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, fever, chills, cough, sore throat, muscle pain and diarrhea. In addition, headaches and a general feeling of being ill and weak may occur. In addition to diarrhea, it can also happen that someone becomes constipated. A longer period of symptom onset, up to more than a few weeks, is also known. Between the seventh and twelfth day of infection, a rash of pink spots may develop on the upper body. Paratyphoid fever may be associated with an enlarged liver and spleen.


Based on the patient’s complaints and physical examination, a diagnosis of paratyphoid fever can be made. The diagnosis can be confirmed by a stool examination or a blood culture that shows the presence of Salmonella paratyphi.


Paratyphoid fever is treated with antibiotics. The blood cultures can still give a positive result days after the start of treatment. The fever will often only subside after a week. Spontaneous recovery will usually occur after a week. Diarrhea may also persist for a longer period of time and may be accompanied by fever. In addition to antibiotics, the doctor can prescribe a diet.


If you come from Western countries, you run an additional risk if you stay in the aforementioned areas. There are often poor hygienic conditions there. Drinking water from the tap is almost always contaminated. The local residents have built up resistance to this disease and can therefore drink this water without getting sick. Raw foods, such as fruits and vegetables that have been rinsed with tap water, can also be contaminated.


If Salmonella paratyphi infection is not treated, it can cause complications. This could, among other things, be damage to the intestinal wall. This can cause heavy bleeding or even intestinal perforation. Other complications may include meningitis, pneumonia or inflammation of the liver. The latter can cause jaundice.

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