Home Health The typhus bacterium increasingly resistant to antibiotics: the alarm in a study

The typhus bacterium increasingly resistant to antibiotics: the alarm in a study

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The typhus bacterium increasingly resistant to antibiotics: the alarm in a study

Typhus bacteria (typhoid fever) are increasingly resistant to the antibiotics used to fight them and in the last 30 years they have traveled several times around the world, evading the borders of the countries in which they are normally found. This is the alarm raised in the study published in the journal The Lancet Microbe and conducted by Jason Andrews of Stanford University.

A large-scale study

This is the largest genome sequencing study of the Salmonella Typhi bacterium, responsible for the disease, which is transmitted through drinking water or food (shellfish, ice cream, pastry products, sauces).

Antibiotic resistance kills over 1.2 million people a year


The study is based on the analysis of more than 7,500 genomes of S. Typhi – mostly from South Asia – and shows that resistant strains have spread to other countries at least 197 times in the past 30 years.

11 million cases of typhoid fever every year

Typhoid fever is a global public health problem, causing 11 million infections and more than 100,000 deaths a year. Although it is most prevalent in South Asia – which accounts for 70% of the global disease burden – it also has a significant impact in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania, highlighting the need for a global response.

The authors of the new study performed whole-genome sequencing of S. Typhi on 3,489 blood samples collected between 2014 and 2019 from people in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan with typhoid fever. Also a collection of 4,169 samples of S. Typhi isolated from over 70 countries between 1905 and 2018 was mapped and included in the analysis.

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Strains were classified as multidrug-resistant if they had genes that confer resistance to the classic first-line antibiotics ampicillin, chloramphenicol and trimethoprim / sulfamethoxazole. The authors also noted the presence of genes that confer resistance to macrolides and quinolones, among the most important antibiotics for human health.

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