Typhoid Fever: Misdiagnosis or Overdiagnosis
Recently there has been a public panic about an increase in cases of typhoid fever. Typhoid fever caused by salmonella typhi is common and constitutes a major public health problem in developing countries including sub-Saharan Africa, South America and parts of Asia. Its clinical features are non-specific and available serologic diagnostic methods are sometimes inconclusive coupled with difficulties in bacteriological isolation of the organisms due to widespread use of antibiotics and inadequate microbiologic facilities. There is a diagnostic dilemma with resultant misdiagnosis leading to delayed diagnosis with attendant higher risk of complications in some cases and inappropriate therapy in others due to overdiagnosis. Available diagnostic modalities are reviewed and appropriate recommendations are made to enhance prompt and proper diagnosis so that appropriate therapy can be made.
Keywords: Typhoid fever, misdiagnosis, overdiagnosis
The Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 51 (4) 2007: pp. 76-79