The Widal test is one method that may be used to help make a presumptive diagnosis of enteric fever, also known as typhoid fever.

Widal test is done to diagnose enteric fever (Typhoid and paratyphoid fever).

Widal test procedure involves the serum agglutination test to detect typhoid fever.

Patients who are suffering from enteric fever will carry homologous antibodies in the serum.

Enteric fever includes typhoid and paratyphoid fever.

Paratyphoid fever is milder than typhoid fever.

Enteric fever is also called typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. Salmonella typhi has an incubation period of 14 to 21 days.

Sometimes may even longer.
30% of the cases become chronic carriers due to persistent infection of the gallbladder.

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Enteric fever can be spread through:

1. Food: If food or drinks are contaminated.
Spread from the carrier, who is shedding Salmonella Typhi.

2. Contaminated drinking water: If sewage water is contaminated with Salmonella Typhi.
Typhoid fever is more common in areas of the world where hand washing is less frequent.

Once Salmonella Typhi bacteria are eaten or drunk, they multiply and spread into the bloodstream.

Signs And Symptoms

1. The patient has a fever, and the pattern of the fever is typical.

2. Fever is persistent and does not touch normally. This may be as high as 103 to 104 F.

3. The patient may feel weak.

4. May have stomach pains, headaches, or loss of appetite.

In some cases, patients have a rash of flat type and rose-colored spots.

Here’s how to read widal test report:

The highest dilution of the serum is noted where there is agglutination.

If it ends at 1:320, then that is the titer.

The Widal test is positive
if ‘O’ antigen titer is greater than 1:160, it means active infection.

If the ‘H’ antigen titer is greater than 1:160, it indicates past infection or in immunized persons.

A fourfold increase in the titer (e.g., from 1:40 to 1:160) is diagnostic.

O Antigen

In the acute stage, Antigen O will be positive, and titer will be more than 1:160.

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O antigen appears early and also disappear early.

H Antigen

H antigen rises late and disappears late.

This will be positive in the recovery stage.

Vi Antigen

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This is an indicator of the carrier stage.

The false-positive test may be seen due to cross reacting infections, including malaria.

Have you had a Widal test done? Have you suffered from enteric fever? Let us know in the comment section below.

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