Typhoid Fever in an Inner City Hospital: A 5-Year Retrospective Review

Authors


Corresponding Author: Dimitrios Farmakiotis, MD, Department of Medicine/Division of Infectious Diseases, Baylor College of Medicine, 1709 Dryden Road, BCM 620, 5th Floor, Suite 5.90D, Houston, TX 77030-2348, USA. E-mail: dfarmakiotis@mdanderson.org; farmakio@bcm.edu

Abstract

Background

Typhoid is a leading cause of fever in returning travelers. The prevalence is highest in migrants visiting friends and relatives (VFR travelers) in the Indian subcontinent, where reports of resistance have been of concern. This study is a retrospective analysis of patients with typhoid, seen over a 5-year period, in a tertiary center that serves a large immigrant population.

Methods

Patients with blood cultures positive for Salmonella Typhi were identified between 2006 and 2010. Charts were reviewed for demographic data, travel history, symptoms and signs, basic laboratory results, susceptibility profiles, treatment, and clinical course. Resistance to nalidixic acid was used as a marker of decreased susceptibility to quinolones.

Results

Seventeen patients were identified with S Typhi. The median age was 12 years (range: 2–47 y) and 94% (16 of 17) were hospitalized with a median stay of 7 days; two were admitted to the intensive care unit. Fourteen patients (82%) had a history of recent travel. Twelve were VFR travelers in Bangladesh and Pakistan and two had recently immigrated. In our study, typhoid patients had low eosinophil counts and elevated transaminases. Seventy-six percent (12 of 17) of all isolates were resistant to nalidixic acid, 23.5% (4 of 17) were resistant to ampicillin and co-trimoxazole, and one was resistant to ciprofloxacin. All isolates were susceptible to third-generation cephalosporins.

Conclusions

Younger VFR travelers appear to be at greater risk of acquiring infection and developing complications. Absolute eosinopenia and increased liver function test values could be useful early diagnostic clues in a returning traveler with fever, once malaria has been excluded. There was a high rate of decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones, confirming that the use of third-generation cephalosporins or macrolides in patients from the Indian subcontinent is most appropriate. Prevention in VFR travelers to South Asia is critical and efforts should be targeted at better education and pre-travel immunization.

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