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Is it possible to have typhoid fever for almost 4 years ?

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Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 2565 Questions
While in the Marines stationed in Africa in 2007 I started feeling sick(weak, abdominal pain, tongue pain/changes, joint pain). When I got back to the states I went to the Dr. and they found nothing wrong. I got out of the Marines and kept going to the Veteran's Hospital, but they never found anything wrong with me. They biopsied my tongue and it came back normal tongue tissue. I came down to Mexico and in a week they found I had typhoid in my stool. My question is, "is it possible I had typhoid fever for almost 4 years"?? I feel better now with the antibiotics. My symptoms were headache, weakness, rash on my chest(lasted for about 2 weeks), tongue changes. I lived with this for 4 years and served my country. I want to know if it was typhoid so I could file a claim.
Posted Fri, 13 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Hello and thanks for the query,

Your question is a good one. Regarding the typhoid - it is actually possible to be a carrier of this bacteria - salmonella typhi for a number of years. The bacteria may cause an intermittent illness and a variety of symptoms during that period of time. At the same time - it is extremely rare that this would happen BUT it is theoretically possible.

I have never seen a case of this and it would not be surprising that a physician would not look for this initially. It was a very astute physician who ran that test on you as he obviously sat down and thought about your history and symptoms.

The bottom line is that there is no real way to prove you had the typhoid over the entire period of time that you felt ill. Here is a medical reference which briefly talks about it:

You might also search "chronic typhoid" in google and see if anything comes up. Law and claims are extremely complicated. If you are going to go in that direction I suggest you see an infectious disease specialist in the US and give them your history and medical records. They will be able to give you a good idea as to whether it all adds up and they will be able to advise you as to whether you have a valid claim in this setting.

Again I thank you for your query. I hope you found my answer to be both helpful and informative. Should you have additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
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