Mistreating an infection can be life-threatening, be it a bacterial infection or a viral one! After the widespread of COVID-19, due to lack of education, people are misunderstanding Typhoid fever as COVID-19 and vise versa.
Feeling our responsibility towards society, we try to clear the difference between COVID-19 and Typhoid.
COVID-19 is a viral infection whereas typhoid is a bacterial infection.
A viral infection is what that a virus cause, while bacterial infections are caused by bacteria. Viruses and bacteria, both are microorganisms and can cause contagious infections. Meaning that they cause infections that can transmit from one person to another.
Viruses have parasitic features. This means they always require a living cell to grow and reproduce. Whereas, bacteria can live in any conceivable environment, including living and non-living things.
The new coronavirus transmits from an infected person to another person who is in close contact, in the form of respiratory droplets. These droplets transfer when the infected person sneezes or coughs. Or one can become infected by touching contaminated surfaces and objects.
The virus may enter into the human body from the mouth, nose, or ears. When one touches his/her face after touching the contaminated surface or after close contact with the infected person.
Typhoid fever often spread through contaminated food or drinking water. It is more prevalent in the areas where handwashing is less frequent. Countries with low incomes, more populations, and with less hygiene practice get this fever more often.
Typhoid spreads from person to person when one comes in direct contact with the feces of an infected person.
COVID-19 can enter into the human body from mouth, nose, and ears. In typhoid, the entry point for the bacterium is also mouth.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. This viral disease cause infection in the respiratory system of the infected person. The virus SARS-CoV-2 lives inside the respiratory tract and first affects the throat lining when enters into the human body.
Afterward, it travels towards the lungs. Meanwhile, the virus replicates and produces more viruses inside the body.
Inside the lungs, these virus factories start infecting the air sacs due to which puss and mucus fill the lungs. That causes breathing difficulty for the person. Resulting in, the person coughs and sneezes due to mucus and spread the respiratory droplets into the air.
This is the reason why washing hands frequently and social distancing is strictly advised as prevention.
In Typhoid fever, the bacterium Salmonella Triphumerium targets the intestine and bloodstream inside the human body.
It enters into the human body through the mouth and stays in the intestine for some time. Here, it affects the gastrointestinal tract including liver, spleen, muscles. Then, it makes its way from the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. From where it may reach the kidneys, gallbladder, and lungs.
The bacterium damages the tissues and organs inside that may cause internal bleeding as well.
In the new coronavirus disease, the infected person may start showing symptoms from 5 to 14 days. The symptoms may vary in severity depending upon the immune system of the person.
Some common symptoms are;
- 102 ℉ fever
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Muscle pain & body aches
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of sense of smell & taste
In typhoid fever, the symptoms begin between 6-30 days after the exposure.
The symptoms are;
- High-grade, gradually increasing fever (mostly from 102 ℉ to 104 ℉)
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Rashes (rose-colors spots around the neck & abdomen)
Testing & Diagnosis
For Coronavirus disease, your healthcare advisor may decide the type of testing depending upon your travel history, your health condition, and also the area you reside in.
Two types of testing are available in Pakistan for the diagnosis of CPOVID-19;
- A viral test- that tells you about the current infection
- An antibody test- that tells you had a previous infection
Testing and diagnosis for COVID-19 is done by collecting saliva or sputum of the infected person.
Whereas, testing and diagnosis of Typhoid fever is done by collecting samples of blood, urine, stool, or bone marrow of the infected person.
Doctors prescribed antibiotics like ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone for the treatment of typhoid fever.
On the other hand, antibiotics don’t work against viral infections. Moreover, there is no cure nor any vaccine has been developed to treat COVID-19. However, healthcare advisors are using antibiotics to treat other coinfections that may develop due to the virus.
The doctors are also using some repurpose medicines to cure the symptoms related to COVID-19. Such as pain relievers and cough syrups.
WHO-China Joint Mission found that recovery time for infected patients of COVID-19 with mild symptoms is two weeks. In contrast, people with severe infection may take three to six weeks to recover fully.
With appropriate therapy and treatment, typhoid patients start recovering from seven to ten days after the infection.
COVID-19 has shown different fatality rates in different regions of the world. In Pakistan, the rate is 5%.
Likewise, if we talk about the fertility rate of typhoid fever, it depends on treatment. The fatality rate is between 1-4% if treated. And if untreated, it may have a high fatality rate as 20%.
No vaccine has been developed so far for the treatment of COVIUD-19. It may take six months to a few years to develop a vaccine, say scientists.
Typhoid, on the other hand, has a wide variety of several vaccines such as TCV, Ty21a, and VIPs.
You can safeguard yourself from getting the new coronavirus by:
- Maintaining social distance
- Covering your face
- Washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds
Prevention and precautions for typhoid fever are different. One can protect himself and others by:
- Drinking boiled or chemically disinfected water
- Eating fruits and vegetables after washing them
- Washing your hands after using the toilet