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Changing pattern of typhoid fever

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      Abstract

      A prospective clinical and microbiologic study was carried out in ninety-eight cases of typhoid fever over a period of eighteen months. The diagnosis was made by positive blood culture or rising Widal agglutination titers. Eighty-two per cent of patients presented with insidious onset of fever accompanied by constitutional symptoms in the first or second week; in the remaining 18 per cent the illness started abruptly with atypical features such as acute gastroenteritis, hemiplegia and hematuria. Clinical features included moderate to high continuous or remittent pyrexia in 54 per cent, intermittent pyrexia in 46 per cent, bronchitic chest signs in 50 per cent, encephalopathy in 44 per cent and splenic enlargement in 38 per cent. Rose spots and relative bradycardia were either absent or rare. Complications developed in forty-one patients, notably circulatory failure (61 per cent) and encephalopathy (35 per cent); thirteen patients died of these. Widal agglutination titers (TO and TH) more than Math Eq were noted in twenty-two of fifty-seven patients admitted in the first week, twenty-three of twenty-eight patients in the second week and eleven of thirteen patients in the third week. Blood culture was positive in forty-six cases (twenty-nine in the first week, twelve in the second week and five in the third week of illness).
      Improvement occurred with chloramphenicol. Fever and toxemia settled within three to five days; encephalopathic manifestations persisted in six patients for two to four weeks. Agglutination titers were raised or remained the same in the majority of patients. The effect of chloramphenicol on agglutination titers was variable, corticosteroids usually depressed the titers. The blood culture became sterile in all but one resistant case.
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