Typhoid fever in Bangladesh: implications for vaccination policy


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Abstract

Objective.To describe the age-specific distribution of typhoid fever including the degree of Salmonella typhi bacteremia among patients evaluated at a large private diagnostic center in Bangladesh, a highly endemic area.Methods.We conducted a prospective-, passive- and laboratory-based study to identify patients with S. typhi bacteremia. Subjects (n = 4650) from whom blood cultures were obtained during 16-month period were enrolled from private clinics and hospitals throughout Dhaka. Isolation and quantification of S. typhi from blood cultures were performed by the lysis direct plating/centrifugation method.Results.Bacterial pathogens were recovered from blood of 538 of 4650 patients (11.6%) evaluated. S. typhi was the single most common pathogen recovered, comprising nearly three-fourths of isolates (72.7%; 391 of 538). Isolation rate of S. typhi was highest in monsoon and summer seasons and lowest in winter months. The majority (54.5%; 213 of 391) of S. typhi isolates were from children who were younger than 5 years, and 27% (105 of 391) were from children in the first 2 years of life. The isolation rate was highest (17.4%, 68 of 486) in the second year of life. The number of bacteria in blood on the basis of colony-forming units per ml of blood by age group was inversely related to age.Conclusions.Detection of S. typhi bacteremia in young children in Dhaka, Bangladesh, was considerably higher than previously appreciated, with a peak detection rate in children ≤2 years of age, indicating the need to reassess the age-specific burden of typhoid fever in the community on a regional basis. Contrary to current recommendations this study suggests that development of new vaccines should target infants and young children.

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