Mr. William Winters, 40 years old, died this date, November 20th, in 1824 and was buried at Bethel Burying Ground. He was a labourer who lived at 269 Catherine Street just two blocks from the burial ground. His cause of death was Typhus Fever. Some may confuse Typhus and Typhoid. I know I initially did. The name Typhoid means “resembling typhus” and comes from the symptoms common to Typhoid and Typhus. Despite this similarity of their names, Typhoid and Typhus are distinct diseases and are caused by different species of bacteria.
Typhus is caused by the rickettsiae bacteria and transmitted by flea, mite and tick bites. When these parasites bite a victim, they leave the rickettsaie bacteria behind. Scratching the bite opens the skin to the bacteria, allowing them to enter the bloodstream. Within the bloodstream, the bacteria grow and replicate. A rash covers the entire body of the victim accompanied by a high fever. The individual will suffer petechaie, which is bleeding into and through the skin. Delirium, stupor, hypotension, and shock occurs followed by death.
Typhoid fever is a totally different bacterial disease transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, which contain the bacterium Salmonella enterica. This disease has been a deadly human disease for thousands of years, flourishing in conditions of poor sanitation, crowding, and poverty. After becoming infected the victim, develops a high fever and becomes exhausted and emaciated due to constant diarrhea and the perforation of the intestines. The patient develops septicemia, slips into a coma and dies.
Although antibiotics have markedly reduced the frequency of these diseases in the developed world, it remains endemic in developing countries.