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Antibiotic-Resistant Typhoid From Asia Is Spreading Worldwide

  • More than 100,000 people die each year from typhoid fever
  • Scientists have voiced concern over resistant bugs for years
A photomicrograph of S. Typhi bacteria.

A photomicrograph of S. Typhi bacteria.

Photographer: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Treatment-resistant typhoid originating mostly from South Asia has springboarded across borders almost 200 times in the past three decades, according to new research that underscores the increasing global threat of infections that can evade antibiotics.

Between 2014 and 2019, scientists sequenced the genomes from 3,489 cases of S. Typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever and kills over 100,000 people annually. Data from four high-burden nations -- Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan -- were combined with an analysis of 4,169 similar samples from more than 70 countries over a 113-year period, making it the largest study of its kind.