Diseases Home > What Is Typhoid?

An illness that is common in many parts of the world, typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that is often referred to simply as "typhoid." This life-threatening infection can be transmitted as a result of eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by an infected person, or if sewage contaminated with the bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing food. Fever, constipation, and stomach pains are some of the most common symptoms.
For approximately 3 percent to 5 percent of people whose symptoms go away with treatment, typhoid fever bacteria remain in the body. It is possible in these cases for the illness to return or to be passed on to other people. These people are called typhoid fever carriers. The most famous carrier was Mary Mallon, also known as "Typhoid Mary."
(Click Typhoid to learn more about this condition, including what you can do to reduce your risk, how it is diagnosed, and more.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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