The bacteria behind the typhoid fever is becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics due to unchecked use of such drugs.
A new strain of the Salmonella typhi bacteria has recently been found in Pakistan, which is extremely drug-resistant. This strain is spreading in other countries as well.
Typhoid is a common disease in most countries of Asia, including Bangladesh. Under the circumstances, Bangladesh must focus on vaccination to prevent typhoid instead of relying solely on antibiotics.
Experts revealed the information in a three-day international conference titled "15th Asian Conference on Diarrhoeal Disease and Nutrition," which began on Tuesday at Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka.
The theme of the opening day for the conference was "Typhoid Conjugate Vaccines: Prospects for Use in Asia and Africa."
Dr Samir Saha, professor of Dhaka Shishu Hospital and Child Health Research Foundation led the session and presented a paper titled "Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine – A tool to end the arms race against Typhoid Salmonella."
Addressing the conference, Dr Saha said, "Vaccines would lead to prevention of typhoid, it is cost effective and it reduces antibiotic resistance.
"In recent times, we are extremely concerned about the coronavirus. At the same time, we should remember the pre-antibiotic era of typhoid. Mortality was as high as 30%. We need to work together to get the vaccines as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will be too late."
"If the drug resistant typhoid strain spreads across Bangladesh, we will be in serious trouble," he added.
According to experts, typhoid is the most common cause of febrile illness in Asia and Africa. It is endemic in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, where Bangladesh bears the higher burden.
Till the early 1900s, mortality due to the typhoid was high. It has presently decreased, because the discovery of antibiotics has improved the treatment of typhoid infections. But the success did not last long, as the bacteria became resistant to the antibiotics.
More than 450 researchers and experts are convening in Dhaka for the 15th ASCODD on typhoid, cholera, other enteric diseases and their relationship to nutritional disorders.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the conference as the chief guest.