Treatment-resistant typhoid originating primarily in South Asia has crossed borders nearly 200 times in the past three decades, according to new research that underscores the growing global threat of infections that can evade antibiotics.
Between 2014 and 2019, scientists sequenced the genomes of 3,489 cases of S. Typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever and kills more than 100,000 people a year. Data from four heavily affected countries – Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan – were combined with an analysis of 4,169 similar samples from more than 70 countries over a period of 113 years, making it the largest study of its kind.
The findings, published in The Lancet Microbe, showed that while resistance to first-line treatments has generally declined across South Asia, global problems remain. The number of strains capable of dominating macrolides and quinolones, two important types of antibiotics, has increased sharply and frequently spread to other countries, according to the study.
For years, scientists have been beating the drums about increasing cases of deadly insects that can survive treatment with the strongest antibiotics. Drug-resistant diseases killed more people than HIV or malaria in 2019, according to a separate study published in January. Recent examples include rising infections in the United States, as well as last year’s deadly fungal outbreak in India, where the overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is exacerbated by poor sanitation. .
The results are “a real cause for concern”, said Jason Andrews, an associate professor at Stanford University and lead author of the study, urging that prevention measures be put in place, especially in countries with high risk.
“The fact that resistant strains of S. Typhi have spread internationally so many times also underscores the need to view typhoid control, and antibiotic resistance more generally, as a global rather than a local problem.” , did he declare.
The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, had some limitations, including the under-representation of samples from endemic regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania. The S. thymhi genomes covered only a fraction of all typhoid fever cases, meaning the researchers’ estimates were likely lower than the true extent of global spread and resistance.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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