Epidemiological investigation of an outbreak of typhoid fever in Jorhat town of Assam, India


Roy JS, Saikia L, Medhi M, Tassa D



Typhoid fever is a global health problem and is also endemic in India. An outbreak of fever occurred in January 2014 in Jorhat Town in Assam, India. Here we report the results of an investigation done to find out the aetiology and source of the outbreak.


The affected areas were visited on January 23, 2014 by a team of Jorhat district Integrated Disease Surveillance Project personnel. A total of 13 blood samples from patients with fever as first symptom and six water samples were collected from the affected areas. The blood samples were cultured and isolates were identified using standard biochemical tests. Isolates were also tested for antimicrobial sensitivity. Widal test was performed on 10 of the 13 blood samples collected. Sanitary survey was carried out to find any leakage in the water supply and also the sewage system of the Jorhat town.


Blood culture yielded Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi in six (46.15%) patients whereas Widal test was positive in 10 (76.9%) of 13 patients. Water culture showed presumptive coliform count of >180/100 ml in two out of the six samples tested. Salmonella Typhi was also isolated from water culture of these two samples. Sanitary survey carried out in the affected places showed that the water supply pipes of urban water supply were in close proximity to the sewage drainage system and there were few leakages.


The outbreak occurred due to S. Typhi contaminating the water supply. Sanitation and immunization are the two most important components to be stressed to prevent such outbreaks.

Click here to view the article, published in Indian Journal of Medical Research