Symptoms and Treatment

What are the signs and symptoms of typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever?

Typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever have similar symptoms̵. People usually have a sustained fever (one that doesn’t come and go) that can be as high as 103–104°F (39–40°C).

sick with stomach pains

Other symptoms of typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever include

  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Cough
  • Loss of appetite

Some people with typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever develop a rash of flat, rose-colored spots.

What do you do if you think you have typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever?

The only way to know for sure if an illness is typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever is to have a sample of blood or stool (poop) tested for Salmonella Typhi or Salmonella Paratyphi.

If you have a fever and feel very ill, see a doctor immediately. If you are traveling outside the United States, you usually can call the U.S. consulateexternal icon for a list of recommended doctors. For more information about medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care Abroad and a list of International Joint Commission-accredited facilitiesexternal icon.

How are typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever treated?

Typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever are treated with antibiotics.

Resistance to antibiotics is increasing pdf icon[PDF – 516 KB] in the bacteria that cause these diseases. When bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, the bacteria are not killed and their growth is not stopped when antibiotics are taken. Your doctor may order special tests to see if the bacteria causing your infection are resistant. Results from those tests may affect what antibiotic treatment you receive.

People who do not get appropriate antibiotic treatment may have fever for weeks or months and may develop complications. People who do not get treatment can die from complications of the infection.

The danger from typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever doesn’t end when symptoms disappear.

Even if your symptoms seem to go away, you may still be carrying Salmonella Typhi or Salmonella Paratyphi. If so, the illness could return, or you could pass the bacteria to other people. In fact, if you are a healthcare worker or work at a job where you handle food or care for small children, you may not be able to return to work until a doctor has determined you no longer carry the bacteria.

If you are being treated for typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever, it is important to do the following to lower the chance that you will pass the bacteria on to someone else.

  • Keep taking antibiotics for as long as the doctor has recommended.
  • Wash your hands carefully with soap and water after using the bathroom.
  • Do not prepare or serve food for other people.