A retrospective study of 137 patients with blood culture-positive typhoid fever admitted to the paediatric unit of the Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia was carried out to study epidemiological, clinical, laboratory and treatment aspects of typhoid fever in Kelantanese children in hospital. The male:female ratio was 1:1.1. School-children were the most affected. Cases were seen throughout the year. The five most frequently presenting features were fever, hepatomegaly, diarrhoea, vomiting and cough. Rose spots were seen in only two patients. Complications included gastritis, bronchitis, ileus, psychosis, encephalopathy, gastro-intestinal bleeding and myocarditis. Relative bradycardia was not seen. Blood and stool cultures were positive in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd weeks of illness. There was no significant difference between percentages of elevated O and H titres, whether done during or after the 1st week of illness. A four-fold rise in (O) titres occurred in 50% of cases tested. We would miss 50% of typhoid fever cases if a titre (O) equal to more than 1/160 were relied upon for diagnosis. Altogether, 46% of patients had leucopenia. Chloramphenicol was the most commonly used antibiotic. There were two deaths.
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