This strain of typhoid is not responding to traditionally used medicines such as ciprofloxacin and health workers have resorted to using the last line of antibiotics, azithromycin in defence against typhoid while waiting for approvals to embark on mass vaccinations.
Cases of drug resistant typhoid are on the increase not only in Zimbabwe but also Sub Saharan Africa and are increasingly becoming common with a number of other bacteria, virus, fungi that causes Tuberculosis, HIV and Aids and other Sexually Transmitted Infections.
According to the World Health Organisation, this is called antimicrobial resistance (AMR) meaning standard treatments are no longer working, symptoms persist and may even spread to others.
Causes of AMR
Over-prescription of antibiotics
Patients not finishing the entire antibiotic course
Overuse of antibiotics
Poor infection control in health care settings
Poor hygiene and sanitation
Absence of new antibiotics being discovered
Below are the key facts on AMR
AMR threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.
AMR is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all Government sectors and society.
The cost of health care for patients with resistant infections is higher than care for patients with non-resistant infections due to longer duration of illness, additional tests and use of more expensive drugs.
In 2016, 490 000 people developed multi-drug resistant TB globally, and drug resistance is starting to complicate the fight against HIV, malaria and typhoid as well.