Home Columns Asmau Ahmad on “Salmonella Typhi; a Creeper in the Slum”

Asmau Ahmad on “Salmonella Typhi; a Creeper in the Slum”

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The word salmonella, when one hears it, will actually think it’s a fish or a reptile, well salmonella is not one of these but a bacteria of different species one of which is Salmonella Typhi. Almost all of us have encountered Typhoid fever and we all know it’s not funny, it’s a disease that can be very discomforting and severe. Last week one of my uncles had Typhoid and he really suffered, so I had to write on typhoid to make us all aware.

Salmonella Typhi is a bacterium which is highly virulent and invasive enteric (inside the stomach) bacterium that causes Typhoid fever. It is a rod shaped (bacillus) which usually lives in slums or dirty environment.


Symptoms usually develop 1–3 weeks after exposure, and may be mild or severe. They include high fever, malaise (discomfort or unease), abdominal pain, fatigue (tiredness), headache, anorexia (eating disorder), insomnia (lack of sleep), constipation or diarrhoea, coloured spots on the chest, and enlarged spleen and liver. Severe forms of typhoid fever may cause cerebral dysfunction, shock, and occasionally intestinal perforation and hemorrhages (bleeding). Approximately 1-4% of patients continue to carry Salmonella Typhi in their intestinal tract and gall bladder for months or years, they are called (“asymptomatic carriers”).


Typhoid is transmitted by consumption of contaminated food or water. It is also transmitted through the ingestion of food or drink contaminated by the faeces or urine of infected people transmission, also occurs through eating raw fruit and vegetables fertilized by human excreta and through ingestion of contaminated milk and milk products. Flies may cause human infection through transfer of the infectious agents to foods. Pollution of water sources may produce epidemics of typhoid fever when large numbers of people use the same source of drinking-water.

There is a higher risk of typhoid fever in countries or areas with low standards of hygiene and water supply facilities


Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics but from the onset of typhoid symptoms it is advised to go to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment, self medication is strictly not advised. Carriers should be excluded from handling food.

Asmau Ahmad is a young female microbiologist and leaves in Kano, Nigeria. She can be reached via asmeee@yahoo.com



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