Karen H. Keddy, Anthony M. Smith, Arvinda Sooka, Nomsa P. Tau, Hlengiwe M. P. Ngomane, Amruta Radhakrishnan, Daina Als, and Frew G. Benson.
Typhoid fever is notifiable in South Africa but clinical notification is notoriously poor. South Africa has an estimated annual incidence rate of 0.1 cases per 100,000 population of culture-confirmed typhoid fever, decreased from 17 cases per 100,000 population in the 1980s. This work was undertaken to identify the reasons for this decrease and identify potential weaknesses that may result in an increase of observed cases.
National incidence rates of culture-confirmed typhoid fever have remained constant for the past 13 years, with the exception of an outbreak in 2005: incidence was 0.4 per 100,000 population. Paratyphoid fever remains a rare disease. Antimicrobial susceptibility data suggest resistance to ciprofloxacin and azithromycin is emerging. Improved socioeconomic circumstances in South Africa have been temporally associated with decreasing incidence rates of typhoid fever over a 35-year period. Ongoing challenges remain including potential for large outbreaks, a large immigrant population, and emerging antimicrobial resistance. Continued active surveillance is mandatory.
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