Paratifus or paratyphoid fever is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium  Salmonella paratyphi . This bacterial infection can invade the intestines and spread to the bloodstream. Salmonella parathyphi  is often found in areas with poor sanitation levels .

Paratyphoid disease has symptoms similar to typhus or typhoid fever . The difference is that the symptoms of paratyphus are generally milder and rarely cause complications.

Even so, paratyphus can cause complications in the form of a torn intestine. In this condition, the patient needs to undergo surgery to clean the abdominal cavity from dirt and repair tears in the intestine.

Causes of Paratifus

Salmonella paratyphi bacteria   that cause paratifus are divided into three types, namely:

  • Salmonella paratyphi A
  • Salmonella paratyphi B ( Salmonella schottmuelleri )
  • Salmonella paratyphi C ( Salmonella hirschfeldii )

A person can be infected with  S. paratyphi bacteria  when accidentally consuming food or drink contaminated with feces or urine of a paratyphoid sufferer. This can happen if sufferers do not wash their hands after using the toilet, then touch items or food that are used or eaten by other people.

Transmission of this bacteria can also occur if someone drinks water from a water source that has been contaminated without boiling it first. In addition, consuming raw or undercooked seafood from polluted water sources can also be a cause of transmission of S. paratyphi bacteria .

Paratifus risk factors

Paratifus is a disease that mostly affects children. In addition, several factors can increase a person's risk of developing paratyphoid, namely:

  • Travel to an area endemic to paratyphoid or typhoid fever
  • Living in a dirty and unsanitary environment
  • Make direct contact with paratyphoid sufferers
  • Have a history of contact or living with paratyphoid fever sufferers
  • Have a history of taking immunosuppressant drugs or drugs to prevent organ transplant reactions
  • Suffering from digestive disorders
  • Experiencing a condition that causes the immune system to decrease, such as cancer or HIV/AIDS

Symptoms of Paratifus

The incubation period or time span from when someone is infected with  Salmonella paratyphi bacteria  until symptoms appear is around 6–30 days. In some people, this incubation period can be shorter. After that, symptoms will appear in the form of:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • feeling unwell (malaise)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea and  vomiting

The pattern of fever in paratyphus is usually similar to that of typhoid fever, which increases gradually with a higher body temperature at night.

Some people with paratyphoid can also experience other symptoms, such as weakness, red rashes on the body ( rose spots ), dry cough, or enlargement of the liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly).

When to see a doctor

Check with your  doctor  if you experience the above symptoms. Symptoms of paratyphoid fever are sometimes similar to symptoms of other infectious diseases. Therefore, an examination needs to be done to find out the exact cause and prevent complications.

If you are diagnosed with paratyphoid fever, check it regularly during treatment. The goal is to monitor the progress of the disease and the success of therapy.

Diagnosis of Paratifus

To diagnose paratyphoid, the doctor will ask about the symptoms experienced, travel history or conditions of residence, food or drink consumed, and whether there are people in the house or neighbors who experience similar symptoms.

Next, the doctor will carry out an examination, including measuring the patient's body temperature , and seeing whether there is a red rash on the skin and enlargement of the spleen or liver.

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will carry out supporting examinations in the form of:

  • Blood, urine, or stool cultures, to determine the type of bacteria causing complaints and symptoms
  • Widal test , to detect the level and presence of antibodies which can indicate a  paratyphi infection

Paratyphoid Treatment

Paratyphoid treatment aims to relieve symptoms, treat infection, and prevent recurrence. There are three methods for treating paratyphus, namely drugs, self-therapy, and hospital care. Here is the explanation:

Administration of drugs

If symptoms have arisen, the doctor will give medication to relieve symptoms and treat the infection. Some of the drugs that will be given are:

  • Fever-reducing drugs, such as paracetamol
  • Antibiotic medications, such as ciprofloxacin , azithromycin, amoxicillin , third-generation cephalosporins, ampicillin, chloramphenicol, or co- trimoxazole

Self therapy

Paratifus sufferers need to get adequate nutrition and fluids , among others by increasing consumption of water, and consuming soft foods if they don't have too much appetite. This is done to prevent dehydration due to fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Hospital treatment

Treatment at the hospital is necessary if the patient continues to vomit and have diarrhea , especially if it is accompanied by a tense and enlarged stomach. In this condition, the doctor will give medicines and fluids through an IV.

Paratifus complications

If left untreated, paratyphus can cause several complications. Generally, these complications appear in the 2nd or 3rd week after the patient is infected.

Complications that can occur due to paratyphoid fever are:

  • Infections of the bloodstream that can lead to sepsis
  • Inflammation of other organs, such as the liver ( hepatitis ) or heart (myocarditis and endocarditis)
  • Meningitis
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Torn or ruptured intestine (intestinal perforation)

Prevention of Paratifus

Unlike typhus, until now there is no vaccine to prevent paratyphoid. Typhoid vaccine cannot be used to prevent paratyphoid because the bacteria that cause these two diseases are different.

Even so, the risk of getting paratifus fever can be reduced by making the following efforts:

  • Wash hands with soap and clean water before preparing food, before eating, and after urinating or defecating
  • Wash vegetables and fruits before processing or consuming them
  • Drink bottled water or boil water until it boils before drinking it
  • Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with boiled or bottled water if traveling to paratyphoid and typhoid endemic areas
  • Do not share the use of eating and drinking utensils, as well as toiletries with other people
  • Not consuming raw, undercooked food, or drinks that are not guaranteed to be clean
  • Be careful when consuming street food
  • Maintain environmental sanitation
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