Salve A, Pichel M, Wiesner M, Hidalgo M, Terragno R, Alvarez A, Agudelo CI, Castañeda E, Binsztein N.
Salmonella Typhi is the etiological agent of typhoid fever with 16 million annual cases estimated worldwide. In Colombia and Argentina it is a notifiable disease but many cases have only a clinical diagnosis. Molecular subtyping of S. Typhi is necessary to complement epidemiologic analysis of typhoid fever. The aims of this study were to determine the genetic relationships between the strains circulating in both countries and to evaluate possible variations in the distribution of 12 virulence genes. A total of 136 isolates were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) with XbaI following PulseNet protocols and analysis guidelines. Eighty-three different PFGE patterns were identified, showing high diversity among the strains from both countries. Three outbreaks, two in Colombia and one in Argentina, were caused by strains of different PFGE types. In Colombia, two PFGE patterns were found predominantly, which included 36.6% of the isolates from that country. No association was found between the PFGE patterns and the year or place of isolation of the strains, the age of the patients or type of sample. However, several clusters were detected, which included isolates recovered predominantly either from Colombia or Argentina. Most of the strains (97%) exhibited a single virulence profile, suggesting that the pathogenicity markers analyzed are of limited value for strain discrimination and do not correlate with the origin of the isolates (intestinal vs. extra-intestinal). Since the creation of PulseNet Latin America, this was the first international study conducted in South America. The PFGE types identified were incorporated into the Regional S. Typhi PulseNet Database and are now available for comparison with those of strains isolated in other regions. This information will be used for active surveillance, future studies, and outbreak investigations.
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