Typhoid is becoming resistant to antibiotics, scientists warn

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Typhoid is notably called an “ancient” disease – it could be as old as human civilization, dating back to 50,000 years from. Specifically, Salmonella typhi is the bacterium in question that spanned the eons with human beings, devastating countless lives until the discovery of antibiotics in the 20th century. But we could soon be at serious risk from the organism again – a new study shows the bacteria is developing dangerous levels of antibiotic resistance. That is, the oral drugs that appeared as a way to treat the disease are becoming increasingly ineffective.

Posted in Lancet Microbean alarming study has revealed that an antibiotic-resistant strain of Salmonella typhi is spreading internationally. The researchers performed the genome sequencing using 3,489 samples from four high-burden countries: India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. “Specifically, we found that South Asia continues to be an important hub for the generation of antimicrobial resistance,” the authors wrote.

“The rate at which highly resistant strains of S.Typhi have emerged and spread in recent years is a real cause for concern and underscores the need to urgently expand prevention measures, especially in countries most at risk,” said infectious disease specialist Jason Andrews of Stanford University.

There are many types of oral antibiotics given for typhoid, but many strains of the bacteria have become resistant to groups of them and have spread – mainly in South Asia – since 2000. This means that strains MDRs are immune to a range of antibiotics used for typhoid, such as ampicillin, chloramphenicol, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and even newer generations of antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins.

Although these strains have declined slightly over the years, researchers have now found one strain – XDR Typhi – resistant to almost all antibiotics except azithromycin. But the study found that this line of defense could also weaken: S. Typhi have recently been reported in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Singapore,” the study reports.


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“Evidence to date suggests that much of the drug resistance in typhoid evolved in India, so we should certainly be concerned about the emergence of drug resistance in the country,” the author said. principal, Dr. Jason Andrews of Stanford University. Told The Indian Express.

A 2021 study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that India continues to carry a heavy typhoid burden, especially in urban areas. It also highlights the urgency of vaccination programs among children. If left untreated, the strain’s rapid spread could make up to 20% of all typhoid cases – about 11 million a year – fatal.


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“The recent emergence of XDR and resistance to azithromycin S.Typhi creates greater urgency for the rapid expansion of preventive measures, including the use of typhoid conjugate vaccines in countries where typhoid is endemic,” the document notes.

However, there is still one hope: vaccines. Typhoid conjugate vaccines are effective in controlling the spread of the disease, according to the study, and we should not wait for antibiotic-resistant strains to become widespread before introducing them. “This rapid emergence, spread and fixation of antimicrobial resistance suggests that making decisions about typhoid conjugate vaccine introduction based on current antimicrobial resistance data may be missing a critical window for prevention. .”

The study draws attention not only to the spread of dangerous strains of typhoid, but also to the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in India and other South Asian countries. India in particular is a hotspot for antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Newborn babies are dying from it and its misuse has exploded during the pandemic.

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