Typhus is a contagious (infectious) disease spreading in unhealthy conditions, either by physical contact (abdominal typhus), or with contaminated food, drink or water.
Although some people do not show signs of illness, they are “germ carriers”, i.e. they carry bacteria in the body and therefore represent a constant source of infection.
Bacteriae cause inflammation of the intestinal walls, and spread through the body via the bloodstream.
Symptoms of typhos are similar to flu symptoms, but then there is a persistent fever with a temperature of about 40 ° C, fatigue, diarrhea (usually bloody), and often rambling. After a few days, a pink rash can also occur on the stomach, which disappears in the course of the disease. Recovery is slow, and usually occurs after two to three weeks if there is no complication. Nonetheless, the disease is life-threatening due to frequent complications such as, for example, severe bleeding or rupturing of the intestine.
In the past, in the former Yugoslavia, abdominal typhus has been a relatively frequent. Frequent reporting of abdominal typhus was then registered in Slavonski Brod, Osijek and in paces where no hygienic drinking water was provided. Every year, in Yugoslavia, there were 4 to 8 thousand people suffering from abdominal typhus.
Immediately after the Second World War (1945-1947), the number of patients was also high (about 7-8 thousand per year). Later, the number of diseased people began to decrease; for example, in 1968. only 1354 people were affected, while today this figure is smaller.
If you are in an area where you can not rely on immediate medical help, stay in bed, drink nutrients (e.g. milk or juice) and try to reduce the temperature by wiping the body with sponge soaked in lukewarm water. Despite persistent fever, do not take analgesics (such as aspirin or paracetamol) because the body that is weakened by typhus is particularly sensitive to such medicines.
If you are affected with typhus in some developed country, you will be treated in a quarantine hospital. A two-week curative treatment with antibiotics will alleviate symptoms and accelerate recovery. After 3-4 weeks, i.e. after there are no more infectious bacteriae in your stool, you will be able to go home.