What is the history of Salmonella typhi (S typhi), and what is the origin of the term typhoid fever?

Updated: Aug 19, 2019
  • Author: John L Brusch, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

S typhi has been a major human pathogen for thousands of years, thriving in conditions of poor sanitation, crowding, and social chaos. It may have responsible for the Great Plague of Athens at the end of the Pelopennesian War. [1] The name S typhi is derived from the ancient Greek typhos, an ethereal smoke or cloud that was believed to cause disease and madness. In the advanced stages of typhoid fever, the patient's level of consciousness is truly clouded. Although antibiotics have markedly reduced the frequency of typhoid fever in the developed world, it remains endemic in developing countries. [2]


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