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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1998 Jul;13(7):745-50.

Salmonella hepatitis.

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Department of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Typhoid fever is often associated with abnormal liver biochemical tests, but severe hepatic involvement with a clinical feature of acute hepatitis is a rare complication. There have been more than 150 cases of salmonella hepatitis reported from both developed and developing countries. The documented incidence varies widely from less than 1% to 26% patients with enteric fever. The possible associated factors for development of salmonella hepatitis are virulence of the organisms, delayed treatment and poor general health of the patients. The pathogenesis of severe hepatic involvement in salmonella infection may be multifactorial and includes endotoxin, local inflammatory and/or host immune reactions. Clinical jaundice in salmonella hepatitis usually occurs within the first 2 weeks of the febrile illness. Hepatomegaly and moderate elevation of transaminase levels are common findings. Extreme hepatic dysfunction with hepatic encephalopathy is a rare coexisting complication in salmonella hepatitis. A positive culture for salmonella from blood or stool is essential to differentiate salmonella hepatitis from other causes of acute hepatitis. Hepatic pathology is characterized by the presence of typhoid nodules with marked hyperplasia of reticuloendothelial cells. The prognosis is usually good as salmonella hepatitis responds well to a specific antibiotic therapy and juandice resolves with clinical improvement. The clinical course can be severe with a mortality rate as high as 20%, particularly with delayed treatment or in patients with other complications of salmonella infection. As enteric fever is a common infection, the recognition of salmonella hepatitis is of clinical importance.

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