Journal Article

Epidemics of Invasive <i>Salmonella enterica</i> Serovar Enteritidis and <i>S. enterica</i> Serovar Typhimurium Infection Associated with Multidrug Resistance among Adults and Children in Malawi

Melita A. Gordon, Stephen M. Graham, Amanda L. Walsh, Lorna Wilson, Amos Phiri, Elizabeth Molyneux, Eduard E. Zijlstra, Robert S. Heyderman, C. Anthony Hart and Malcolm E. Molyneux

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 46, issue 7, pages 963-969
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Epidemics of Invasive Salmonella enterica Serovar Enteritidis and S. enterica Serovar Typhimurium Infection Associated with Multidrug Resistance among Adults and Children in Malawi

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Background. Nontyphoidal salmonellae (NTS) have become the most common cause of bacteremia in tropical Africa, particularly among susceptible children and HIV-infected adults.

Methods. We describe 4956 episodes of NTS bacteremia (2439 episodes in adults and 2517 episodes in children) that occurred in Blantyre, Malawi, during the 7-year period 1998–2004.

Results. A total of 75% of the cases of NTS bacteremia were due to Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, and 21% were due to S. enterica serovar Enteritidis. Epidemic increases in the incidence of NTS bacteremia were seen sequentially, occurring first among cases caused by S. Enteritidis and then among cases caused by S. Typhimurium. Increased incidence of bacteremia was temporally associated with the acquisition of multidrug resistance to ampicillin, cotrimoxazole, and chloramphenicol by each serovar and occurred while the incidence of infection due to other common bloodstream pathogens remained constant. These epidemics were observed among adults and children. A seasonal pattern was also seen, with increased incidence during and after the rainy season. The median age of the patients was 32 years among adults and 22 months among children. Acquisition of multidrug-resistant infection was not associated with an increased case-fatality rate among children (22%), and the case-fatality rate among adults showed a significant trend toward decreasing (from 29% to 20%).

Conclusions. These data have important implications for the treatment of severe febrile illness in adults and children in tropical Africa. Further understanding of the molecular basis of these epidemics of multidrug-resistant NTS infection, including ongoing whole-genome sequencing of multidrug-resistant isolates, will yield important tools for the study of NTS pathogenesis, transmission, epidemiology, and prevention.

Journal Article.  4273 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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