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Widal Test for Typhoid: All You Need to Know About the Widal Test

Widal Test for Typhoid: All You Need to Know About the Widal Test

Max Lab

Jul 05, 2022

Typhoid is a bacterial disease that has been affecting the world’s population for quite a few centuries now. Without proper treatment, typhoid can prove to be fatal. Earlier, the microbial culture used to be the most common method of diagnosing a typhoid infection, but in 1896, Georges-Fernand Widal came up with a new testing technique. Named after its inventor, the Widal test uses a blood sample to detect the presence of serum agglutinins (H and O). With time, the incidence of typhoid fever has reduced, but it is a condition that still exists. Thanks to its high sensitivity and better accuracy in interpretation, the Widal test is still widely used to diagnose typhoid infections.

What is Typhoid?

Typhoid fever is an infection that is caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria, which can affect all parts of the body. A person can get a typhoid infection through contaminated food or drinking water. This is a highly -contagious infection that can cause serious complications and may even be fatal without proper treatment. The infected person usually develops symptoms within one to three weeks after exposure to the bacteria and the symptoms can range from mild to severe.


The Widal test is used for the timely diagnosis of typhoid, which, if left untreated, lead to intestinal bleeding and perforation. This can lead to severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or in the worst case, sepsis. Surgery may be required to repair the intestinal damage caused by a typhoid infection.

Some of the less common complications of typhoid include inflammation of the heart muscle, inflammation of the lining of the heart and valves, pneumonia, inflammation of the pancreas, meningitis, kidney or bladder infections, and delirium.

What is the Widal Test?

The Widal blood test is the most common and effective way of diagnosing typhoid fever. The principle of the Widal test involves an agglutination biochemical test that detects the presence of typhoid-causing bacteria in the bloodstream.

The Widal blood test checks for agglutination, which occurs in case the serum reacts with the respective antigens. If a homologous antibody is present in the serum, it will start reacting with the respective antigen in the reagent. When this happens, visible clumps can be seen on the test card and agglutination in the tube. The antigens used in this test are ‘H’ and ‘O’ of Salmonella Typhi and ‘H’ of S Paratyphi, as the ‘O’ Paratyphoid antigen will cross-react with typhoid ‘O’ antigen.

What Is the Purpose of the Widal Test?

The Widal test is used for the diagnosis of typhoid fever. If a person is displaying symptoms indicating a typhoid infection, a doctor may want to look at their Widal test report. Major symptoms of typhoid fever that one should look out for include:

Many times, this infection may go undetected for weeks as its symptoms are similar to those of other common gastrointestinal illnesses. However, on the development of any of these symptoms, one should immediately consult a doctor. The price of the Widal test can be checked online with ease.

Preparation for the Widal Test

There is no special preparation for the Widal test, like an overnight fast before sample collection. However, based on an individual’s medical history and current health status, a doctor may suggest some precautions to be observed.

Understanding the Results of the Widal Test

The lab report of the Widal test provides both qualitative and quantitative diagnostic analysis of the condition. Results within the normal range of the Widal test or a normal value indicate that the person does not have typhoid infection. On the other hand, a positive value on the Widal test may indicate a typhoid infection. However, as the normal range for the Widal test may vary from one diagnostic lab to another, and based on individual health factors, it is recommended that one always consults a doctor with their report of the Widal test, who will be able to interpret the normal value better and suggest a course of action.

Today it is very easy to check the price of the Widal test online and book it. As the Widal test is used for the diagnosis of an infection that may lead to severe consequences if left unchecked, one should not waste any time in getting screened for the same. Plus, with facilities like at-home sample collection and online accessibility for the report and results of the Widal test, there is no reason to postpone!


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