Africa News

9th International Conference on Typhoid, Invasive NTS Disease Held in Bali, Indonesia

- Global public health experts discuss future strategies of combatting typhoid, invasive NTS disease

BALI, Indonesia, May 1, 2015 / PRNewswire — The Coalition against Typhoid (CaT), in collaboration with Bio Farma, began the 9th International Conference on Typhoid and Invasive NTS Disease in Bali, Indonesia, with more than 200 public health experts from around the world in attendance. Over the next three days, they will discuss strategies to combat typhoid and invasive non-typhoidal salmonella (iNTS) disease. Experts will present their research on disease burdens, the cost effectiveness of intervention strategies and global policy recommendations for invasive salmonelloses.

Typhoid impacts approximately 21 million people, causing more than 216,000 deaths annually — predominantly among children younger than 15. In addition, invasive non-typhoidal salmonellae cause an estimated 3.4 million illnesses and 681,316 deaths globally each year.

“Typhoid fever has been an unrecognized problem in Africa despite a significant mortality due to complications associated with the disease” said Stephen K. Obaro, MD, PhD, a professor in the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “However, due to a lack of highly-sensitive and specific diagnostic tools, typhoid is often misdiagnosed with other illnesses such as malaria, sepsis or pneumonia. In clinical practice, these patients are treated with antibiotics without clear information on the cause of their illness. While this is a practical step in saving lives, this approach promotes resistance to antibiotics, making it more difficult to treat typhoid fever and other bacterial infections in the future. In addition, it makes it difficult to define the burden of infections caused by salmonella and target them with more effective and cheaper strategies. As we work to reduce the global burden of typhoid, improved surveillance in Africa — and other endemic countries — is essential to saving more lives and building the case for the adoption of new and more effective typhoid vaccines.”

Typhoid, the leading serotype of the invasive salmonella family, is treatable with antibiotics. However, resistance to commonly used antibiotics has emerged as a growing challenge. A lack of effective diagnostic tests further complicates management. Together, these challenges underscore the need for increased use of typhoid vaccines in the short term. Despite a WHO recommendation to prioritize typhoid vaccines for “immediate” implementation, their use remains minimal in endemic settings.

“Vaccines provide an immediate solution to the human suffering caused by typhoid,” said Imran Khan, director of the CaT Secretariat at the U.S.-based Sabin Vaccine Institute. “We have made significant progress since the last international conference on typhoid in 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Two conjugate vaccines have been licensed in India and six more are in clinical development and will be licensed in their country of manufacture by 2018. To continue this momentum, the Coalition against Typhoid will work with partners on the critical next steps: securing a revised immunization policy and financial commitment for typhoid conjugate vaccines.”

The recent national licensure of typhoid conjugate vaccines in India — and their availability and use in the private market — represents a major milestone in typhoid prevention. These events lay the groundwork for expanding use of these vaccines in the public sector through national immunization programs. A conjugate vaccine could prevent 90 percent of typhoid cases and deaths, saving approximately 190,000 lives a year. These vaccines, which offer a longer duration of protection than earlier vaccines, are safe and can be used in infants as young as six months.

The 9th International Conference on Typhoid and Invasive NTS Disease is a landmark conference in addressing the global burden of invasive salmonella infections. The conference includes a research and public health focus on overcoming barriers to diagnosis, management and prevention of salmonella infections.

About the Coalition against Typhoid
The Coalition against Typhoid (CaT) is a global forum of health and immunization experts working to expedite and sustain rational, evidence-based decisions at the global, regional, national and municipal levels regarding the use of typhoid vaccines to prevent enteric fever. CaT aims to define barriers to the adoption of typhoid vaccines in communities that would benefit most and the key activities that are needed to overcome them.