Antimicrobial Resistance in Typhoidal Salmonella: Surveillance for Enteric Fever in Asia Project, 2016-2019

Farah N. Qamar, Mohammad T. Yousafzai, Irum F. Dehraj, Sadia Shakoor, Seema Irfan, Aneeta Hotwani, Muhammad J. Hunzai, Rozina S. Thobani, Najeeb Rahman, Junaid Mehmood, Caitlin Hemlock, Ashraf M. Memon, Jason R. Andrews, Stephen P. Luby, Denise O. Garrett, Ashley T. Longley, Kashmira Date, Samir K. Saha

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Background: Clinicians have limited therapeutic options for enteric as a result of increasing antimicrobial resistance, and therefore typhoid vaccination is recommended as a preventive measure. As a part of the Surveillance for Enteric Fever in Asia Project (SEAP), we investigated the extent measured the burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among confirmed enteric fever cases in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. Methods: From September 2016-September 2019, SEAP recruited study participants of all age groups from its outpatient, inpatient, hospital laboratory, laboratory network, and surgical sites who had a diagnosis of febrile illness that was either suspected or blood culture confirmed for enteric fever. Antimicrobial resistance of isolates was determined by disc diffusion using Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute cut-off points. We reported the frequency of multidrug resistance (MDR)(resistance to ampicillin, cotrimoxazole, and chloramphenicol), extensive drug resistance (XDR) (MDR plus non-susceptible to fluoroquinolone and any 3rd generation cephalosporins), and fluoroquinolone (FQ) and azithromycin non-susceptibility. Results: We enrolled 8,705 blood culture confirmed enteric fever cases: 4,873 (56%) from Bangladesh, 1,602 (18%) from Nepal and 2,230 (26%) from Pakistan. Of these, 7,591 (87%) were Salmonella Typhi and 1114 (13%) were S. Paratyphi. MDR S. Typhi was identified in 17% (701/4065) of isolates in Bangladesh, and 1% (19/1342) in Nepal. In Pakistan, 16 % (331/2084) of S. Typhi isolates were MDR, and 64% (1319/2074) were XDR. FQ nonsusceptibility among S. Typhi isolates was 98% in Bangladesh, 87% in Nepal, and 95% in Pakistan. Azithromycin non-susceptibility was detected in 77 (2%) in Bangladesh, 9 (.67%) in Nepal and 9 (.59%) isolates in Pakistan. In Pakistan, three (2%) S. Paratyphi isolates were MDR; no MDR S. Paratyphi was reported from Bangladesh or Nepal. Conclusions: Although AMR against S. Paratyphi was low across the three countries, there was widespread drug resistance among S. Typhi, including FQ non-susceptibility and the emergence of XDR S. Typhi in Pakistan, limiting treatment options. As typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) is rolled out, surveillance should continue to monitor changes in AMR to inform policies and to monitor drug resistance in S. Paratyphi, for which there is no vaccine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S276-S284
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Asia
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • enteric fever
  • extensive drug resistance
  • multidrug resistance


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