Alert! Drug Resistant Typhoid: A New Epidemic Threat To Africa

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Typhoid fever, a bacterial infection, is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi. It is a highly contagious disease that can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs. The typhoid is caused by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by the faeces or urine of an infected person. The  bacterium is also spread through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions or spread by insects like house fly that feed on faeces of infected people.


Typhoid fever is therefore common in countries or places that have poor levels of sanitation or limited access to clean water and over the years, Africa, Central America, Indian subcontinent; South America, South and South East Asia have been the areas with highest rates of typhoid fever.


Symptoms in an infected person begin to manifest six to thirty days of exposure to the bacterium and the symptoms may include high fever, weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation and internal bleeding. A person infected may also vomit or develop skin rashes with rose coloured spots or confusion in severe cases. Typhoid fever, however, can be easily treated at home with a 7-14 day course of antibiotics if quickly detected. A more serious case requires admission into a hospital where infected person will be treated with antibiotic injections. In a situation where the fever is not treated on time, there are serious complications that can damage the body symptoms. The person may bleed internally, have a section of the digestive system or bowel split open causing a widespread infection all over the body system. An untreated infected person also have 25% more chances of dying than a treated infected person; very terrible complications. Just imagine all the fatal damage untreated typhoid can cause to your body, that is what a drug resistant typhoid fever can do to your body system!!!


A new clone of the bacterium; Salmonella typhi called the H58 has been reported to be rolling across Asia and Africa. According to a report in Nature Genetics, the H58 was probably introduced several times in Kenya and has been spreading from there to the South. The alarm was sounded on the 11th of May after sequencing more than 1,800 samples of the bacterium form 63 countries which revealed the rise of multi-drug resistant strain called H58 that does not respond to frontier antibiotics. The H58 also blunt newer drugs such as ciprofloxacin and azithromycin. It is displacing the antibiotic sensitive versions of the germ and although it is just dominant, the H58 has emerged and spread throughout Africa and Asia over the last 30 years. According to the Nature Genetics, it described the disease as ongoing unrecognized MDR within Africa itself. The H58 strains are now predominant among the Eastern and Southern Africans; from Kenya to Tanzania and on to Malawi and South Africa.


Stephen Baker at the hospital for tropical diseases, an Oxford university research unit in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam said that bacteria do not obey the law of borders and he further advised that any effort to contain the spread of antimicrobial resistance must be globally coordinated.


My advice to fellow Nigerians, watch where you eat, what you eat and how you eat… If typhoid is very dangerous to your both system, imagine the million damages the multi-drug resistance version of it can be. Be safe.


Alice Temitope Dako

Alice Temitope Dako

A passionate reader, a photographer of thoughts and an ardent book collector. A nerd in love with the world built by words...

1 comment

  1. Really a major problem to healthcare profession and fellow human living in Africa and asia. With scarcity of water in some parts of India coupled with poor hygiene, sanitation I think this will spread rapidly. Despite my personal effort to implement tool to help identify and isolate patients, people in power have ignored my contribution. It will be sad to hear and see lots of people die. I only hope, people register and check out common symptoms before rushing to hospitals, may be some smart ones may be saved.

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