Volume 61, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


We report on the ongoing epidemic of typhoid fever in Tajikistan that started in 1996. It has involved more than 24,000 cases to date, and is characterized by multiple point sources, overflow of sewage, contaminated municipal water, and person-to-person spread. Of the Salmonella typhi isolates available for testing in western laboratories, more than 90% are multidrug-resistant (MDR). Most recently, 28 (82%) of 34 isolates are resistant to ciprofloxacin, representing the first reported epidemic of quinolone-resistant typhoid fever. In the past, mass immunization during typhoid fever epidemics has been discouraged. A review of this policy is recommended in light of the alarming emergence of quinolone-resistant strains of S. typhi, the availability of improved vaccines, and the ongoing epidemic in Tajikistan. Mass immunization may be a useful measure for the control of prolonged MDR typhoid fever epidemics, as an adjunct to correction of municipal infrastructure and public health intervention.


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