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Originally published December 13 2013

Antibiotics unable to stop resistant typhoid fever

by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer

(NaturalNews) Scientists at Oxford University's Clinical Research Unit are stunned by new laboratory results. Their study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in the journal eLife, reports of typhoid fever bacteria strains that cannot be controlled. These bacterial strains are downright outsmarting scientists and modern medicine.

Antibiotic control rendered useless in the face of typhoid

After creating and testing 12 strains of Salmonella Typhi bacteria (typhoid) in their laboratory, the Oxford scientists found out that the bacteria can spread despite drug control programs.

Certain strains of typhoid have become antibiotic-resistant, and their domination doesn't stop there. Typically, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria become weaker and are less able to compete for food when antibiotic treatments are lessened. But even when the scientists backed off of antibiotic treatments, these-antibiotic resistant strains of typhoid continued to thrive.

Dr. Maciej Boni, co-leader of the study, said: "When we grew different strains of Salmonella Typhi in the lab, we found that half of the antibiotic resistant strains had a growth advantage over their parent strain, even in the absence of antibiotic, enabling them to predominate in the population."

The strains, which were genetically mutated, were similar to current antibiotic-resistant strains that outsmart the common antibiotic treatment fluoroquinolone. Fluoroquinolone is the modern day treatment for typhoid fever in Asia and Africa, but it is losing effectiveness, as typhoid continues to spread.

Dr. Stephen Baker, from Oxford University's Clinical Research Unit, said: "Currently, the control of typhoid across Asia and Africa relies on treatment with fluoroquinolones but resistance is rising. Withdrawing or restricting the use of this class of antibiotics is one approach to try and combat the spread of resistance. However, the results of this study suggest that we need to think beyond this, as antibiotic resistance will likely continue to rise even if these strategies are implemented."

Typhoid fever a growing epidemic in Asia

According to the World Health Organization, 21 million cases of typhoid fever occur annually around the world. 90 percent of typhoid deaths strike in Asia, affecting young children under five most often. Some children are left with permanent physical and mental disabilities.

Typhoid, which is typically transmitted through contaminated food or drinking water, is usually the result of poor sanitation and limited access to clean drinking water. Once the bacteria get inside a person, the disease infects the gut and travels into the bloodstream. From there, the body responds with fever as the digestive system is wracked. An infected person can become disoriented and confused.

Helping the unfortunate gain access to clean water

Since antibiotics continue to make typhoid more resilient, a new strategy must be adopted.

Dr. Jimmy Whitworth, Head of International Activities at the Wellcome Trust, said: "These important findings from researchers in Vietnam are very worrying. If confirmed, one of our main strategies for controlling drug-resistance in typhoid will be ineffective. We will need to concentrate on... improving water supplies and sanitation, a Herculean task for low and middle income countries."

That task could begin with individuals coming together for a common cause of clean water. It could begin with missionary work which focuses on water quality in less fortunate areas.

Instead of building bigger highrises, churches in America could set an example and begin sharing their abundance with those less fortunate. Many places of worship do reach out, but a more concerted effort could be had, especially in the area of water treatment. Church groups could move outside the walls and begin funding and delivering stand-alone charcoal filtration systems to people around the world. The filters could eliminate typhoid bacteria strains from tainted water and lessen the incidence of disease around the world.

This is a mission desperately needed, especially at a time when antibiotics are becoming useless.

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