Multi-drug resistant typhoid is a becoming a global problem. A genomic study with contributors from over 24 countries showed that the current problem of antibiotic resistant typhoid is driven by a single clade, a family of typhoid bacteria called H58 that has now spread globally. The H58 clade of the bacterium Salmonella Typhi was found to be displacing other typhoid fever strains that have been established over decades and centuries throughout the typhoid endemic world, completely transforming the genetic architecture of the disease. The researchers said, "Multi-drug resistant H58 has spread across Asia and Africa over the past 30 years, and created a previously under appreciated and ongoing epidemic through countries in eastern and southern Africa with important public health consequences."
Senior study author professor Gordon Dougan from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Britain said, "H58 is an example of an emerging multiple drug resistant pathogen which is rapidly spreading around the world."
Study first author Vanessa Wong from Sanger Institute said, "Typhoid affects around 30 million people each year and global surveillance at this scale is critical to address the ever increasing public health threat caused by multi-drug resistant typhoid in many developing countries around the world."
Vaccination to prevent the disease is not currently in widespread use in the developing countries across Asia and Africa; instead the disease is controlled mainly through use of anti-microbial drugs. Stephen Baker, one of the study authors from The Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, said, "These results reinforce the message that bacteria do not obey international borders and any efforts to contain the spread of anti-microbial resistance must be globally coordinated."
The study is published in the Nature Genetics.