The Prevalence of Undiagnosed Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi in Healthy School-Aged Children in Osun State, Nigeria


Jessica N. Uwanibe, Tolulope A. Kayode, Paul E. Oluniyi, Kazeem Akano, Idowu B. Olawoye, Chinedu A. Ugwu, Christian T. Happi, and Onikepe A. Folarin


Typhoid fever remains a significant public health concern due to cases of mis-/overdiagnosis. Asymptomatic carriers play a role in the transmission and persistence of typhoid fever, especially among children, where limited data exist in Nigeria and other endemic countries. We aim to elucidate the burden of typhoid fever among healthy school-aged children using the best surveillance tool(s). In a semi-urban/urban state (Osun), 120 healthy school-aged children under 15 years were enrolled. Whole blood and fecal samples were obtained from consenting children. ELISA targeting the antigen lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and anti-LPS antibodies of Salmonella Typhi, culture, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and next-generation sequencing (NGS) were used to analyze the samples. At least one of the immunological markers was detected in 65.8% of children, with 40.8%, 37.5%, and 39% of children testing positive for IgM, IgG, and antigen, respectively. Culture, PCR, and NGS assays did not detect the presence of Salmonella Typhi in the isolates. This study demonstrates a high seroprevalence of Salmonella Typhi in these healthy children but no carriage, indicating the inability to sustain transmission. We also demonstrate that using a single technique is insufficient for typhoid fever surveillance in healthy children living in endemic areas.

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