Extensively-drug resistant typhoid turns a dangerous disease in Karachi: Moot told

Karachi, October 30, 2019 (PPI-OT):The officials of the Sindh Health Department and UNICEF have expressed their serious concern over the increasing number of extensively-drug resistant (XDR) typhoid cases in the province. Worldwide, typhoid infects around 21.6 million people every year, while the severity of the disease kills two to six thousand people each year. In Asia, Pakistan and India are mostly affected by the infection.

The provincial health department will launch a Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) campaign against XDR typhoid fever from the 18th to 30th November 2019 to target around 10 million people of Sindh, the officials said, and urged the citizens to adopt simple hand hygiene and avoid eating unhealthy food.

Antibiotic resistance has become a major issue in the treatment of typhoid, while there are a few limited antibiotic options available for the treatment of typhoid, they said, adding that as many as 4,709 typhoid cases were registered in Sindh during August 2019, while out of the total 2,999 cases are reported in Karachi only.

Dr Zahoor Ahmed Baloch, former Project Director EPI (Expanded Programme on Immunization), Dr Khalid Zubairi and Suneel Raja, Provincial C4D Consultant – EPI expressed these views while speaking at the public awareness seminar held at the Prof Salimuzzaman Siddiqui Auditorium, organized by Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi on Wednesday.

The seminar was jointly organized by Dr. Panjwani Center, Sindh Health Department and Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP). Delivering a presentation on the fatal disease, Dr Khalid Zubairi pointed out that as many as 10,000 people had been infected from the typhoid fever in Sindh so far. He said the use of contaminated water was the major cause of typhoid fever, which is an acute illness associated with fever caused by the Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi bacteria.

It can also be caused by Salmonella paratyphi, a related bacterium that usually causes less severe illness, he said. As a major step towards eradication of typhoid, the protection and purification of drinking water supplies must be ensured. Improvement of basic sanitation and promotion of food hygiene are the major steps to eliminate the disease from Sindh. He pointed out that typhoid fever was a key cause of morbidity and mortality in low-income and middle-income countries.

Dr Zahoor Ahmed Baloch pointed out that typhoid outbreak in Hyderabad and Karachi had prompted the need for TCV vaccine in Sindh. He said that TCV Catch-up campaign has been planned to target 10.1 million children under 15 years of age (9 months to 15 years). He said that a total of the target population included 4.7 million from Karachi.

Suneel Raja said that the vaccination for XDR typhoid fever has also been added to the expanded programme on immunization. He said that the typhoid conjugate vaccine was currently not available commercially. The society needs to join hands with the government to fight against typhoid and other fatal diseases and infections become prevalent in the country, he said.

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