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 higher than 102˚F and feel very ill, see a doctor immediately. If you are traveling outside the United States, you can usually call the U.S. consulateExternal 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 facilities.External 

How are typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever treated?

Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics.

Resistance to antibiotics is increasing in the bacteria that cause typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever. When bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, the bacteria are not killed and their growth is not stopped. To help guide treatment, your doctor may order special tests to see if your type of Salmonella is antibiotic-resistant.

People who do not get treatment can continue to have fever for weeks or months, and can develop complications. As many as 30% of people who do not get treatment 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 health care worker or work at a job where you handle food or care for small children, you might be barred (prevented) legally from going back 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:

  • Keep taking antibiotics for as long as the doctor has recommended.
  • Wash your hands carefully with soap and water after using the bathroom, and do not prepare or serve food for other people. This will lower the chance that you will pass the bacteria on to someone else.
  • Have your doctor test your stool (poop) to be sure no Salmonella Typhi or Salmonella Paratyphi bacteria remain in your body.