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Clinical outcomes in typhoid fever: adverse impact of infection with nalidixic acid-resistant Salmonella typhi

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      BackgroundWidespread use of fluoroquinolones has resulted in emergence of Salmonella typhi strains with decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. These strains are identifiable by their nalidixic acid-resistance. We studied the impact of infection with nalidixic acid-resistant S. typhi (NARST) on clinical outcomes in patients with bacteriologically-confirmed typhoid fever.MethodsClinical and laboratory features, fever clearance time and complications were prospectively studied in patients with blood culture-proven typhoid fever, treated at a tertiary care hospital in north India, during the period from November 2001 to October 2003. Susceptibility to amoxycillin, co-trimoxazole, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone were tested by disc diffusion method. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone were determined by E-test method.ResultsDuring a two-year period, 60 patients (age [mean ± SD]: 15 ± 9 years; males: 40 [67%]) were studied. All isolates were sensitive to ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone by disc diffusion and MIC breakpoints. However, 11 patients had clinical failure of fluoroquinolone therapy. Infections with NARST isolates (47 [78%]) were significantly associated with longer duration of fever at presentation (median [IQR] 10 [7-15] vs. 4 [3-6] days; P = 0.000), higher frequency of hepatomegaly (57% vs. 15%; P = 0.021), higher levels of aspartate aminotransferase (121 [66–235] vs. 73 [44–119] IU/L; P = 0.033), and increased MIC of ciprofloxacin (0.37 ± 0.21 vs. 0.17 ± 0.14 μg/mL; P = 0.005), as compared to infections with nalidixic acid-susceptible isolates. All 11 patients with complications were infected with NARST isolates. Total duration of illness was significantly longer in patients who developed complications than in patients who did not (22 [14.8–32] vs. 12 [9.3–20.3] days; P = 0.011). Duration of prior antibiotic intake had a strong positive correlation with the duration of fever at presentation (r = 0.61; P = 0.000) as well as the total duration of illness (r = 0.53; P = 0.000).ConclusionTyphoid fever caused by NARST infection is associated with poor clinical outcomes, probably due to delay in initiating appropriate antibiotic therapy. Fluoroquinolone breakpoints for S. typhi need to be redefined and fluoroquinolones should no longer be used as first-line therapy, if the prevalence of NARST is high.

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      Most cited references 27

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      Typhoid fever.

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        Typhoid fever in children aged less than 5 years.

        Calculation of the incidence of typhoid fever during preschool years is important to define the optimum age of immunisation and the choice of vaccines for public-health programmes in developing countries. Hospital-based studies have suggested that children younger than 5 years do not need vaccination against typhoid fever, but this view needs to be re-examined in community-based longitudinal studies. We undertook a prospective follow-up study of residents of a low-income urban area of Delhi, India, with active surveillance for case detection. A baseline census was undertaken in 1995. Between Nov 1, 1995, and Oct 31, 1996, we visited 8172 residents of 1820 households in Kalkaji, Delhi, twice weekly to detect febrile cases. Blood samples were obtained from febrile patients, and those who tested positive for Salmonella typhi were treated with ciprofloxacin. 63 culture-positive typhoid fever cases were detected. Of these, 28 (44%) were in children aged under 5 years. The incidence rate of typhoid per 1000 person-years was 27.3 at age under 5 years, 11.7 at 5-19 years, and 1.1 between 19 and 40 years. The difference in the incidence of typhoid fever between those under 5 years and those aged 5-19 years (15.6 per 1000 person-years [95% CI 4.7-26.5]), and those aged 19-40 years (26.2 [16.0-36.3]) was significant (p<0.001 for both). The difference between the incidence of typhoid at 5-19 years and the incidence at 19-40 years was also significant (10.6 [6.3-14.8], p<0.001). Morbidity in those under 5 and in older people was similar in terms of duration of fever, signs and symptoms, and need for hospital admission. Our findings challenge the common view that typhoid fever is a disorder of school-age children and of adults. Typhoid is a common and significant cause of morbidity between 1 and 5 years of age. The optimum age of typhoid immunisation and the choice of vaccines needs to be reassessed.
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          Quantitation of bacteria in blood of typhoid fever patients and relationship between counts and clinical features, transmissibility, and antibiotic resistance.

          Salmonella typhi was isolated from 369 and Salmonella paratyphi A was isolated from 6 of 515 Vietnamese patients with suspected enteric fever. Compared with conventional broth culture of blood, direct plating of the buffy coat had a diagnostic sensitivity of 99.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 97.1 to 100%). Blood bacterial counts were estimated by the pour plate method. The median S. typhi count in blood was 1 CFU/ml (range, <0.3 to 387 CFU/ml), of which a mean of 63% (95% CI, 58 to 67%) were intracellular. The mean number of bacteria per infected leukocyte was 1.3 (interquartile range [IQR], 0.7 to 2.4) CFU/cell (n = 81). Children (< 15 years old; n = 115) had higher median blood bacterial counts than adults (n = 262): 1.5 (range, <0.3 to 387) versus 0.6 (range, <0.3 to 17.7) CFU/ml (P = 0.008), and patients who excreted S. typhi in feces had higher bacteremias than those who did not: a median of 3 (range, <0.3 to 32) versus 1 (range, <0.3 to 68) CFU/ml (P = 0.02). Blood bacterial counts declined with increasing duration of illness (P = 0.002) and were higher in infections caused by multidrug-resistant S. typhi (1.3 [range, <0.3 to 387] CFU/ml; n = 313) than in infections caused by antibiotic-sensitive S. typhi (0.5 [range, <0.3 to 32] CFU/ml; n = 62) (P = 0.006). In a multivariate analysis this proved to be an independent association, suggesting a relationship between antibiotic resistance and virulence in S. typhi.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
            [2 ]Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
            [3 ]Department of Paediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
            BMC Infect Dis
            BMC Infectious Diseases
            BioMed Central (London )
            18 May 2005
            : 5
            : 37
            Copyright © 2005 Kadhiravan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Research Article

            Infectious disease & Microbiology


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