The Gathering Storm: Is Untreatable Typhoid Fever on the Way?


Levine MM, Simon R


Klemm et al. (mBio 9:e00105-18, 2018, present comprehensive antibiotic sensitivity patterns and genomic sequence data on Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi blood culture isolates from typhoid fever cases during an epidemic in Pakistan. Microbiologic and genomic data pinpoint the identities and locations of the antimicrobial resistance genes and the outbreak strain’s lineage. They propose that Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi be added to the list of bacterial pathogens of public health importance that have become extensively drug resistant (XDR). This paper portends possible dire scenarios for typhoid fever control if XDR strains disseminate globally. Since the outbreak strain is of the H58 haplotype, known for its ability to spread worldwide and displace endemic S Typhi, this concern is well-founded. The report of Klemm et al. forewarns the global community to address control of typhoid fever more aggressively through prevention, should therapeutic options disappear. This Commentary frames the Klemm et al. findings within a historic perspective.


Click here to view the article, published in MBio