According to a study which was recently published in Nature Genetics an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant typhoid is spreading across Africa and it raises threats for the public health. The strain of typhoid bacterium is spreading all around the globe and is especially dangerous for developing countries.
The international research team examined the DNA of almost 2000 typhoid pathogens from countries across Africa and Asia and discovered that over the past 30 years a single strain which is resistant to multiple drugs had swept through Asia and reached Africa.
Over two dozen countries took part in the landmark genomic study which proves that the present problem of antibiotic resistant typhoid is caused by a single clade family of bacteria which is known under the name of H58 and which has now spread all over the globe.
According to Dr. Vanessa Wong from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute around 30 million people are affected by typhoid every year. Taking into consideration this scale it is of utter importance that global surveillance in many developing countries should deal with the public health threat posed by multidrug resistant typhoid especially when this threat is always increasing.
Dr. Wong said that the findings were obtained by a consortium of 74 collaborations from the main laboratories which work on typhoid and the data describes one of the most complete series of genome data on a sole human infectious agent.
The organism which causes typhoid is salmonella typhi. It infects 22 million people around the world and it kills 20.000 every year. The symptoms of the disease make it hard to distinguish from other infectious diseases. Patients suffering from this diseases experience headaches, fever, chills and constipation.
Currently vaccination to prevent the disease is not widespread in the countries where the disease is common. In cases of H58 Typhi infection antimicrobial drugs are often use to control the diseases. The bacteria is in most cases resistant to first-line antimicrobials which are usually used for treatment. Moreover as it reaches new regions and spreads to new population H58 Typhi continues to evolve and acquire novel mutations which make it resistant to new antimicrobial agents like for example azithromycin and ciprofloxacin.
Senior author of the study Dr. Kathryn Holt of the University of Melbourne remarked:
“Multidrug resistant typhoid has been coming and going since the 1970s and is caused by the bacteria picking up novel antimicrobial resistance genes, which are usually lost when we switch to a new drug.”
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