HomeHealthUntreated typhoid can damage intestine, cause death, physician warns

Untreated typhoid can damage intestine, cause death, physician warns

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Amarachi Okeh

A public health physician with the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan, Dr. Kenechukwu Igwegbe has warned against leaving typhoid untreated, noting that it could cause serious intestinal damage and death.

Untreated typhoid, he said, may cause typhoid perforation, adding that patients may be bleeding unknowingly from such intestinal damage.

The doctor explained that the bacteria which is gotten through food and water manifests in the digestive system.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Igwegbe said, “Typhoid perforation is where the organism has grown and that leads to the perforation of the intestine and when it perforates the intestine, it can cause a whole lot of damage to the system.

“This perforation in the intestine leads to the sufferer vomiting and stooling blood, which causes anaemia,” he said.

Typhoid fever, the World Health Organisation, said is a life-threatening infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi.

“It is usually spread through contaminated food or water. Once Salmonella Typhi bacteria are eaten or drunk, they multiply and spread into the bloodstream,” WHO said

Typhoid fever
Typhoid fever

According to Bio-Medical Journal – a peer-reviewed medical site, intestinal perforation is a serious complication of typhoid fever that remains a significant surgical problem in developing countries, where it is associated with high mortality and morbidity, due to lack of clean drinking water, poor sanitation, and lack of medical facilities in remote areas and delay in hospitalisation.

“The high incidence of perforation in most developing countries has been attributed to late diagnosis and the emergence of multi-drug resistant and virulent strains of Salmonella typhi,” the medical site said.

Also, according to the UK’s National Health Service, perforation of the digestive bowel is a serious medical complication. 

“This is because bacteria that live in your digestive system can move into your stomach and infect the lining of your abdomen,” the UK NHS said.

Igwegbe also explained that typhoid fever can be gotten when one eats infected food or through fecal-oral transmission.

“If you don’t wash your hands properly after using the toilet and still use your hands to eat. Those pathogens can be gotten through this means,” he said.

Igwegbe, however, said intestine perforation can be treated by surgery.

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