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August 6, 2020

Preschoolers, caregivers highly vulnerable to typhoid

Islamabad

August 6, 2020

Islamabad : Warning preschoolers aged 3-5 are highly vulnerable to typhoid fever, including drug resistant typhoid, the National Institute of Health has underlined the need for limiting the transmission of the life-threatening bacterial infection through preventive measures and early detection and treatment.

In an advisory, the NIH, the country's leading medical research centre, said typhoid fever was endemic in the country, while outbreaks of the Extensively Drug Resistant Salmonella Typhi (XDR S. Typhi) had been reported in different parts of the country since 2016, especially during summer and monsoon seasons.

“This XDR S. Typhi is resistant to commonly used antibiotics such as ampicillin, chloramphenicol, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, fluoroquinolones and third generation cephalosporins. The XDR S. Typhi is sensitive only to carbapenem (meropenem) and macrolide (azithromycin). In view of the seasonal trend of XDR typhoid, it is important to take necessary measures to limit its transmission through preventive measures, early detection, use of recommended diagnostic tools, and prompt treatment,” it said.

According to the institute, typhoid occurs through feco-oral route and infection spreads through contaminated food, milk, frozen fruits and water or through close contact with the already infected persons.

It warned that preschool children were at greater risk of developing the disease and they usually had milder symptoms than the adults had, while visitors to or those working in endemic areas and caregivers of the patient infected with S. Typhi were also at higher risk.

According to the NIH, since the outbreak of novel coronavirus, health professionals are found to be frequently prescribing azithromycin for both suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“Such patients may develop resistance against azithromycin due to its overuse leading to resistance strains whose spread will limit out treatment options in XDR typhoid cases.