Drug Resistant Typhoid Fever In Hyderabad

Emergency vaccinations are underway as drug-resistant Typhoid Fever hits Hyderabad.

Typhoid, as discussed the other week, is a bacterial infection caused by a strain of Salmonella (Salmonella Typhi) and globally can be attributed to 128,000 deaths annually.

Symptoms of Typhoid include:

  • High fevers
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches

In some cases there is even a noticeable rash. Clinical diagnosis is done by a blood test or analysis of a stool sample.

Hyderabad, a major city in India is currently in the grip of a Typhoid crisis with cases emerging that have become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the disease.  The gold standard drug Ceftriaxone, a 3rd generation cephalosporin used globally in cases of acquired Typhoid Fever, but doctors have started to see many cases where this treatment has failed.  Whilst no precise figures on the death toll have been released, over 800 cases have been detected by the team at Aga Khan University since early 2017.

Typhoid is spread through contaminated food and water via what is known as the faecal-oral route.  The disease is very preventable by observing good hygiene and by having vaccinations against the disease.

In our last posting on Typhoid, I spoke of the new Typhoid conjugate vaccine, Typbar TCV that had been brought to market by Bharat Biotech.  The aim of the emergency programme is to vaccinate 250,000 children in Latifabad and Qasimabad, some of the worst-hit areas, using the new vaccine over the next 3-4 months.  The programme has been made possible due to funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation after data on the drug-resistant Typhoid fever was presented at an international summit in Uganda in April 2017.

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