Epidemiology of Typhoid Fever in Mauritius


Mohammad I. Issack


Background: The epidemiology of typhoid fever in Mauritius was studied to determine whether there was any need for tourists visiting Mauritius to be vaccinated against the disease, and where Mauritians with typhoid fever had been infected. Data on antibiotic susceptibility of Salmonella typhi isolates from Mauritius were also analyzed.

Methods: Since 1997 every time S. typhi is isolated from blood cultures at our laboratory, an epidemiologic inquiry is conducted to determine the likely origin of the infection and the outcome of treatment, and the information collected is recorded. Results of antibiotic susceptibility testing are also noted. Data recorded on cases between 1997 and 2004 were reviewed and analyzed.

Results: S. typhi was isolated on 25 occasions during the 8-year period. The infection was likely to have been acquired in Mauritius in only 6 cases (24%). Another 6 cases (24%) occurred in expatriate workers from the Indian subcontinent. Of the 13 Mauritians (52%) who probably acquired the infection abroad, 11 had a history of recent travel to India. Thirteen of 14 S. typhi isolates from cases acquired in India were resistant to nalidixic acid. Of the 6 cases acquired in Mauritius, 4 occurred in children under 12 years and 1 was caused by a multiply resistant strain. Twenty-two patients made an uneventful recovery. One death was indirectly caused by typhoid fever, and there was 1 case each of intestinal perforation and relapse.

Conclusions: In Mauritius typhoid fever is mainly an imported disease, but indigenous cases of the illness occur rarely and sporadically. Travelers to Mauritius need not be vaccinated against typhoid fever as the risk of acquiring the disease in the country is negligible. Mauritians traveling to India must be made aware of the risk of typhoid fever and of preventive measures. Ceftriaxone should be used as the initial first-line treatment of infection acquired in India.


Click here to view the article.