A prospective study of 65 patients with perforated typhoid enteritis managed operatively over a 3 year period at a university hospital is presented. There were 45 males and 20 females with ages ranging from 5 to 15 years. Presenting symptoms were fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and either diarrhoea or constipation. All the patients were subjected to surgery and 56 (86%) underwent two-layer bowel closure after freshening of ulcer margins. The overall mortality rate in this study was 20% and was adversely influenced by the increasing duration of perforation, presence of shock and faecal peritonitis. Early surgery after prompt and adequate resuscitation is life saving. However, prevention of typhoid fever by providing safe drinking water and better sanitary conditions appears to offer the best chance of decreasing the high rates of mortality and morbidity of this deadly disease.
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