Dr Abhilasha Karkey

Research Area: Microbiology
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health and Clinical Trials & Epidemiology

Abhilasha Karkey is a medical microbiologist at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Kathmandu, Nepal, which is associated with the Patan Academy of Health Sciences within Patan Hospital. She is involved with several infectious disease research projects including enteric fever, central nervous system infections, hepatitis E, tuberculosis, and antibiotic resistance. Her main research includes looking at nosocomial infections and antibiotic resistance patterns within the population, as well as molecular epidemiology of enteric fever within the study population in Kathmandu.

There are no collaborations listed for this principal investigator.

Darton TC, Jones C, Dongol S, Voysey M, Blohmke CJ, Shrestha R, Karkey A, Shakya M, Arjyal A, Waddington CS et al. 2017. Assessment and Translation of the Antibody-in-Lymphocyte Supernatant (ALS) Assay to Improve the Diagnosis of Enteric Fever in Two Controlled Human Infection Models and an Endemic Area of Nepal. Front Microbiol, 8 (OCT), pp. 2031. | Show Abstract | Read more

New diagnostic tests for enteric fever are urgently needed to assist with timely antimicrobial treatment of patients and to measure the efficacy of prevention measures such as vaccination. In a novel translational approach, here we use two recently developed controlled human infection models (CHIM) of enteric fever to evaluate an antibody-in-lymphocyte supernatant (ALS) assay, which can detect recent IgA antibody production by circulating B cells in ex vivo mononuclear cell culture. We calculated the discriminative ability of the ALS assay to distinguish diagnosed cases in the two CHIM studies in Oxford, prior to evaluating blood culture-confirmed diagnoses of patients presenting with fever to hospital in an endemic areas of Kathmandu, Nepal. Antibody responses to membrane preparations and lipopolysaccharide provided good sensitivity (>90%) for diagnosing systemic infection after oral challenge with Salmonella Typhi or S. Paratyphi A. Assay specificity was moderate (~60%) due to imperfect sensitivity of blood culture as the reference standard and likely unrecognized subclinical infection. These findings were augmented through the translation of the assay into the endemic setting in Nepal. Anti-MP IgA responses again exhibited good sensitivity (86%) but poor specificity (51%) for detecting blood culture-confirmed enteric fever cases (ROC AUC 0.79, 95%CI 0.70-0.88). Patients with anti-MP IgA ALS titers in the upper quartile exhibited a clinical syndrome synonymous with enteric fever. While better reference standards are need to assess enteric fever diagnostics, routine use of this ALS assay could be used to rule out infection and has the potential to double the laboratory detection rate of enteric fever in this setting over blood culture alone.

Karkey A, Thwaites GE, Baker S. 2017. The evolution of antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella Typhi. Curr Opin Gastroenterol, pp. 1-1. | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Increasing antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella Typhi is a serious public health concern, especially in industrializing countries. Here we review recent clinical and laboratory data concerning the evolution of antimicrobial resistance, with particular reference to the emergence resistance against fluoroquinolones, third generation cephalosporins, and azithromycin. RECENT FINDINGS: The last 40 years have witnessed the sequential emergence of resistance to all first-line antimicrobials used in the treatment of S. Typhi infections. Multidrug resistance (MDR), defined by resistance to chloramphenicol, amoxicillin, and co-trimoxazole, emerged in the 1990s, followed rapidly by reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. In the current decade, high-level fluoroquinolone resistance has emerged in south Asia and threatens to spread worldwide. Increasing reliance is now being placed on the activity of third generation cephalosporins and azithromycin, but resistance against these agents is developing. Carbapenems and tigecycline may be alternatives, although clinical data are sparse, and in some settings reversion to chloramphenicol and co-trimoxazole susceptibility is occurring. Therefore, older drugs may yet have a role in the treatment of S. Typhi infections. SUMMARY: Good surveillance, improved diagnostics, more prudent use of antimicrobials, and effective vaccines will all be critical to reducing the burden of disease caused by S. Typhi.

Pokharel S, Basnyat B, Arjyal A, Mahat SP, Kc RK, Bhuju A, Poudyal B, Kestelyn E, Shrestha R, Phuong DNT et al. 2017. Co-trimoxazole versus azithromycin for the treatment of undifferentiated febrile illness in Nepal: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 18 (1), pp. 450. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Undifferentiated febrile illness (UFI) includes typhoid and typhus fevers and generally designates fever without any localizing signs. UFI is a great therapeutic challenge in countries like Nepal because of the lack of available point-of-care, rapid diagnostic tests. Often patients are empirically treated as presumed enteric fever. Due to the development of high-level resistance to traditionally used fluoroquinolones against enteric fever, azithromycin is now commonly used to treat enteric fever/UFI. The re-emergence of susceptibility of Salmonella typhi to co-trimoxazole makes it a promising oral treatment for UFIs in general. We present a protocol of a randomized controlled trial of azithromycin versus co-trimoxazole for the treatment of UFI. METHODS/DESIGN: This is a parallel-group, double-blind, 1:1, randomized controlled trial of co-trimoxazole versus azithromycin for the treatment of UFI in Nepal. Participants will be patients aged 2 to 65 years, presenting with fever without clear focus for at least 4 days, complying with other study criteria and willing to provide written informed consent. Patients will be randomized either to azithromycin 20 mg/kg/day (maximum 1000 mg/day) in a single daily dose and an identical placebo or co-trimoxazole 60 mg/kg/day (maximum 3000 mg/day) in two divided doses for 7 days. Patients will be followed up with twice-daily telephone calls for 7 days or for at least 48 h after they become afebrile, whichever is later; by home visits on days 2 and 4 of treatment; and by hospital visits on days 7, 14, 28 and 63. The endpoints will be fever clearance time, treatment failure, time to treatment failure, and adverse events. The estimated sample size is 330. The primary analysis population will be all the randomized population and subanalysis will be repeated on patients with blood culture-confirmed enteric fever and culture-negative patients. DISCUSSION: Both azithromycin and co-trimoxazole are available in Nepal and are extensively used in the treatment of UFI. Therefore, it is important to know the better orally administered antimicrobial to treat enteric fever and other UFIs especially against the background of fluoroquinolone-resistant enteric fever. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT02773407 . Registered on 5 May 2016.

Darton TC, Baker S, Randall A, Dongol S, Karkey A, Voysey M, Carter MJ, Jones C, Trappl K, Pablo J et al. 2017. Identification of Novel Serodiagnostic Signatures of Typhoid Fever Using a Salmonella Proteome Array. Front Microbiol, 8 (SEP), pp. 1794. | Show Abstract | Read more

Current diagnostic tests for typhoid fever, the disease caused by Salmonella Typhi, are poor. We aimed to identify serodiagnostic signatures of typhoid fever by assessing microarray signals to 4,445 S. Typhi antigens in sera from 41 participants challenged with oral S. Typhi. We found broad, heterogeneous antibody responses with increasing IgM/IgA signals at diagnosis. In down-selected 250-antigen arrays we validated responses in a second challenge cohort (n = 30), and selected diagnostic signatures using machine learning and multivariable modeling. In four models containing responses to antigens including flagellin, OmpA, HlyE, sipC, and LPS, multi-antigen signatures discriminated typhoid (n = 100) from other febrile bacteremia (n = 52) in Nepal. These models contained combinatorial IgM, IgA, and IgG responses to 5 antigens (ROC AUC, 0.67 and 0.71) or 3 antigens (0.87), although IgA responses to LPS also performed well (0.88). Using a novel systematic approach we have identified and validated optimal serological diagnostic signatures of typhoid fever.

Saad NJ, Bowles CC, Grenfell BT, Basnyat B, Arjyal A, Dongol S, Karkey A, Baker S, Pitzer VE. 2017. The impact of migration and antimicrobial resistance on the transmission dynamics of typhoid fever in Kathmandu, Nepal: A mathematical modelling study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 11 (5), pp. e0005547. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A substantial proportion of the global burden of typhoid fever occurs in South Asia. Kathmandu, Nepal experienced a substantial increase in the number of typhoid fever cases (caused by Salmonella Typhi) between 2000 and 2003, which subsequently declined but to a higher endemic level than in 2000. This epidemic of S. Typhi coincided with an increase in organisms with reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones, the emergence of S. Typhi H58, and an increase in the migratory population in Kathmandu. METHODS: We devised a mathematical model to investigate the potential epidemic drivers of typhoid in Kathmandu and fit this model to weekly data of S. Typhi cases between April 1997 and June 2011 and the age distribution of S. Typhi cases. We used this model to determine if the typhoid epidemic in Kathmandu was driven by heightened migration, the emergence of organisms with reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones or a combination of these factors. RESULTS: Models allowing for the migration of susceptible individuals into Kathmandu alone or in combination with the emergence of S. Typhi with reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones provided a good fit for the data. The emergence of organisms with reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones organisms alone, either through an increase in disease duration or increased transmission, did not fully explain the pattern of S. Typhi infections. CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis is consistent with the hypothesis that the increase in typhoid fever in Kathmandu was associated with the migration of susceptible individuals into the city and aided by the emergence of reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones. These data support identifying and targeting migrant populations with typhoid immunization programmes to prevent transmission and disease.

Thompson CN, Karkey A, Dongol S, Arjyal A, Wolbers M, Darton T, Farrar JJ, Thwaites GE, Dolecek C, Basnyat B, Baker S. 2017. Treatment Response in Enteric Fever in an Era of Increasing Antimicrobial Resistance: An Individual Patient Data Analysis of 2092 Participants Enrolled into 4 Randomized, Controlled Trials in Nepal. Clin Infect Dis, 64 (11), pp. 1522-1531. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background.: Enteric fever, caused by Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A, is the leading cause of bacterial febrile disease in South Asia. Methods.: Individual data from 2092 patients with enteric fever randomized into 4 trials in Kathmandu, Nepal, were pooled. All trials compared gatifloxacin with 1 of the following comparator drugs: cefixime, chloramphenicol, ofloxacin, or ceftriaxone. Treatment outcomes were evaluated according to antimicrobial if S. Typhi/Paratyphi were isolated from blood. We additionally investigated the impact of changing bacterial antimicrobial susceptibility on outcome. Results.: Overall, 855 (41%) patients had either S. Typhi (n = 581, 28%) or S. Paratyphi A (n = 274, 13%) cultured from blood. There were 139 (6.6%) treatment failures with 1 death. Except for the last trial with ceftriaxone, the fluoroquinolone gatifloxacin was associated with equivalent or better fever clearance times and lower treatment failure rates in comparison to all other antimicrobials. However, we additionally found that the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) against fluoroquinolones have risen significantly since 2005 and were associated with increasing fever clearance times. Notably, all organisms were susceptible to ceftriaxone throughout the study period (2005-2014), and the MICs against azithromycin declined, confirming the utility of these alternative drugs for enteric fever treatment. Conclusion.: The World Health Organization and local government health ministries in South Asia still recommend fluoroquinolones for enteric fever. This policy should change based on the evidence provided here. Rapid diagnostics are urgently required given the large numbers of suspected enteric fever patients with a negative culture.

Wong VK, Baker S, Connor TR, Pickard D, Page AJ, Dave J, Murphy N, Holliman R, Sefton A, Millar M et al. 2016. An extended genotyping framework for Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, the cause of human typhoid. Nat Commun, 7 pp. 12827. | Show Abstract | Read more

The population of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi), the causative agent of typhoid fever, exhibits limited DNA sequence variation, which complicates efforts to rationally discriminate individual isolates. Here we utilize data from whole-genome sequences (WGS) of nearly 2,000 isolates sourced from over 60 countries to generate a robust genotyping scheme that is phylogenetically informative and compatible with a range of assays. These data show that, with the exception of the rapidly disseminating H58 subclade (now designated genotype 4.3.1), the global S. Typhi population is highly structured and includes dozens of subclades that display geographical restriction. The genotyping approach presented here can be used to interrogate local S. Typhi populations and help identify recent introductions of S. Typhi into new or previously endemic locations, providing information on their likely geographical source. This approach can be used to classify clinical isolates and provides a universal framework for further experimental investigations.

International Typhoid Consortium, Wong VK, Holt KE, Okoro C, Baker S, Pickard DJ, Marks F, Page AJ, Olanipekun G, Munir H et al. 2016. Molecular Surveillance Identifies Multiple Transmissions of Typhoid in West Africa. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (9), pp. e0004781. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The burden of typhoid in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries has been difficult to estimate, in part, due to suboptimal laboratory diagnostics. However, surveillance blood cultures at two sites in Nigeria have identified typhoid associated with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) as an important cause of bacteremia in children. METHODS: A total of 128 S. Typhi isolates from these studies in Nigeria were whole-genome sequenced, and the resulting data was used to place these Nigerian isolates into a worldwide context based on their phylogeny and carriage of molecular determinants of antibiotic resistance. RESULTS: Several distinct S. Typhi genotypes were identified in Nigeria that were related to other clusters of S. Typhi isolates from north, west and central regions of Africa. The rapidly expanding S. Typhi clade 4.3.1 (H58) previously associated with multiple antimicrobial resistances in Asia and in east, central and southern Africa, was not detected in this study. However, antimicrobial resistance was common amongst the Nigerian isolates and was associated with several plasmids, including the IncHI1 plasmid commonly associated with S. Typhi. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that typhoid in Nigeria was established through multiple independent introductions into the country, with evidence of regional spread. MDR typhoid appears to be evolving independently of the haplotype H58 found in other typhoid endemic countries. This study highlights an urgent need for routine surveillance to monitor the epidemiology of typhoid and evolution of antimicrobial resistance within the bacterial population as a means to facilitate public health interventions to reduce the substantial morbidity and mortality of typhoid.

Khor CC, Do T, Jia H, Nakano M, George R, Abu-Amero K, Duvesh R, Chen LJ, Li Z, Nongpiur ME et al. 2016. Genome-wide association study identifies five new susceptibility loci for primary angle closure glaucoma. Nat Genet, 48 (5), pp. 556-562. | Show Abstract | Read more

Primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) is a major cause of blindness worldwide. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) followed by replication in a combined total of 10,503 PACG cases and 29,567 controls drawn from 24 countries across Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. We observed significant evidence of disease association at five new genetic loci upon meta-analysis of all patient collections. These loci are at EPDR1 rs3816415 (odds ratio (OR) = 1.24, P = 5.94 × 10(-15)), CHAT rs1258267 (OR = 1.22, P = 2.85 × 10(-16)), GLIS3 rs736893 (OR = 1.18, P = 1.43 × 10(-14)), FERMT2 rs7494379 (OR = 1.14, P = 3.43 × 10(-11)), and DPM2-FAM102A rs3739821 (OR = 1.15, P = 8.32 × 10(-12)). We also confirmed significant association at three previously described loci (P < 5 × 10(-8) for each sentinel SNP at PLEKHA7, COL11A1, and PCMTD1-ST18), providing new insights into the biology of PACG.

Arjyal A, Basnyat B, Nhan HT, Koirala S, Giri A, Joshi N, Shakya M, Pathak KR, Mahat SP, Prajapati SP et al. 2016. Gatifloxacin versus ceftriaxone for uncomplicated enteric fever in Nepal: an open-label, two-centre, randomised controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 16 (5), pp. 535-545. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Because treatment with third-generation cephalosporins is associated with slow clinical improvement and high relapse burden for enteric fever, whereas the fluoroquinolone gatifloxacin is associated with rapid fever clearance and low relapse burden, we postulated that gatifloxacin would be superior to the cephalosporin ceftriaxone in treating enteric fever. METHODS: We did an open-label, randomised, controlled, superiority trial at two hospitals in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal. Eligible participants were children (aged 2-13 years) and adult (aged 14-45 years) with criteria for suspected enteric fever (body temperature ≥38·0°C for ≥4 days without a focus of infection). We randomly assigned eligible patients (1:1) without stratification to 7 days of either oral gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg per day) or intravenous ceftriaxone (60 mg/kg up to 2 g per day for patients aged 2-13 years, or 2 g per day for patients aged ≥14 years). The randomisation list was computer-generated using blocks of four and six. The primary outcome was a composite of treatment failure, defined as the occurrence of at least one of the following: fever clearance time of more than 7 days after treatment initiation; the need for rescue treatment on day 8; microbiological failure (ie, blood cultures positive for Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi, or Paratyphi A, B, or C) on day 8; or relapse or disease-related complications within 28 days of treatment initiation. We did the analyses in the modified intention-to-treat population, and subpopulations with either confirmed blood-culture positivity, or blood-culture negativity. The trial was powered to detect an increase of 20% in the risk of failure. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01421693, and is now closed. FINDINGS: Between Sept 18, 2011, and July 14, 2014, we screened 725 patients for eligibility. On July 14, 2014, the trial was stopped early by the data safety and monitoring board because S Typhi strains with high-level resistance to ciprofloxacin and gatifloxacin had emerged. At this point, 239 were in the modified intention-to-treat population (120 assigned to gatifloxacin, 119 to ceftriaxone). 18 (15%) patients who received gatifloxacin had treatment failure, compared with 19 (16%) who received ceftriaxone (hazard ratio [HR] 1·04 [95% CI 0·55-1·98]; p=0·91). In the culture-confirmed population, 16 (26%) of 62 patients who received gatifloxacin failed treatment, compared with four (7%) of 54 who received ceftriaxone (HR 0·24 [95% CI 0·08-0·73]; p=0·01). Treatment failure was associated with the emergence of S Typhi exhibiting resistance against fluoroquinolones, requiring the trial to be stopped. By contrast, in patients with a negative blood culture, only two (3%) of 58 who received gatifloxacin failed treatment versus 15 (23%) of 65 who received ceftriaxone (HR 7·50 [95% CI 1·71-32·80]; p=0·01). A similar number of non-serious adverse events occurred in each treatment group, and no serious events were reported. INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that fluoroquinolones should no longer be used for treatment of enteric fever in Nepal. Additionally, under our study conditions, ceftriaxone was suboptimum in a high proportion of patients with culture-negative enteric fever. Since antimicrobials, specifically fluoroquinolones, are one of the only routinely used control measures for enteric fever, the assessment of novel diagnostics, new treatment options, and use of existing vaccines and development of next-generation vaccines are now a high priority. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust and Li Ka Shing Foundation.

Karkey A, Jombart T, Walker AW, Thompson CN, Torres A, Dongol S, Tran Vu Thieu N, Pham Thanh D, Tran Thi Ngoc D, Voong Vinh P et al. 2016. The Ecological Dynamics of Fecal Contamination and Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A in Municipal Kathmandu Drinking Water. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (1), pp. e0004346. | Show Abstract | Read more

One of the UN sustainable development goals is to achieve universal access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030. It is locations like Kathmandu, Nepal, a densely populated city in South Asia with endemic typhoid fever, where this goal is most pertinent. Aiming to understand the public health implications of water quality in Kathmandu we subjected weekly water samples from 10 sources for one year to a range of chemical and bacteriological analyses. We additionally aimed to detect the etiological agents of typhoid fever and longitudinally assess microbial diversity by 16S rRNA gene surveying. We found that the majority of water sources exhibited chemical and bacterial contamination exceeding WHO guidelines. Further analysis of the chemical and bacterial data indicated site-specific pollution, symptomatic of highly localized fecal contamination. Rainfall was found to be a key driver of this fecal contamination, correlating with nitrates and evidence of S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A, for which DNA was detectable in 333 (77%) and 303 (70%) of 432 water samples, respectively. 16S rRNA gene surveying outlined a spectrum of fecal bacteria in the contaminated water, forming complex communities again displaying location-specific temporal signatures. Our data signify that the municipal water in Kathmandu is a predominant vehicle for the transmission of S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A. This study represents the first extensive spatiotemporal investigation of water pollution in an endemic typhoid fever setting and implicates highly localized human waste as the major contributor to poor water quality in the Kathmandu Valley.

Pham Thanh D, Karkey A, Dongol S, Ho Thi N, Thompson CN, Rabaa MA, Arjyal A, Holt KE, Wong V, Tran Vu Thieu N et al. 2016. A novel ciprofloxacin-resistant subclade of H58 Salmonella Typhi is associated with fluoroquinolone treatment failure. Elife, 5 (MARCH2016), pp. e14003. | Show Abstract | Read more

The interplay between bacterial antimicrobial susceptibility, phylogenetics and patient outcome is poorly understood. During a typhoid clinical treatment trial in Nepal, we observed several treatment failures and isolated highly fluoroquinolone-resistant Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi). Seventy-eight S. Typhi isolates were genome sequenced and clinical observations, treatment failures and fever clearance times (FCTs) were stratified by lineage. Most fluoroquinolone-resistant S. Typhi belonged to a specific H58 subclade. Treatment failure with S. Typhi-H58 was significantly less frequent with ceftriaxone (3/31; 9.7%) than gatifloxacin (15/34; 44.1%)(Hazard Ratio 0.19, p=0.002). Further, for gatifloxacin-treated patients, those infected with fluoroquinolone-resistant organisms had significantly higher median FCTs (8.2 days) than those infected with susceptible (2.96) or intermediately resistant organisms (4.01)(pS. Typhi clade internationally, but there are no data regarding disease outcome with this organism. We report an emergent new subclade of S. Typhi-H58 that is associated with fluoroquinolone treatment failure.

Holmes AH, Moore LS, Sundsfjord A, Steinbakk M, Regmi S, Karkey A, Guerin PJ, Piddock LJ. 2016. Understanding the mechanisms and drivers of antimicrobial resistance. Lancet, 387 (10014), pp. 176-187. | Show Abstract | Read more

To combat the threat to human health and biosecurity from antimicrobial resistance, an understanding of its mechanisms and drivers is needed. Emergence of antimicrobial resistance in microorganisms is a natural phenomenon, yet antimicrobial resistance selection has been driven by antimicrobial exposure in health care, agriculture, and the environment. Onward transmission is affected by standards of infection control, sanitation, access to clean water, access to assured quality antimicrobials and diagnostics, travel, and migration. Strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance by removing antimicrobial selective pressure alone rely upon resistance imparting a fitness cost, an effect not always apparent. Minimising resistance should therefore be considered comprehensively, by resistance mechanism, microorganism, antimicrobial drug, host, and context; parallel to new drug discovery, broad ranging, multidisciplinary research is needed across these five levels, interlinked across the health-care, agriculture, and environment sectors. Intelligent, integrated approaches, mindful of potential unintended results, are needed to ensure sustained, worldwide access to effective antimicrobials.

Izopet J, Labrique AB, Basnyat B, Dalton HR, Kmush B, Heaney CD, Nelson KE, Ahmed ZB, Zaman K, Mansuy JM et al. 2015. Hepatitis E virus seroprevalence in three hyperendemic areas: Nepal, Bangladesh and southwest France. J Clin Virol, 70 pp. 39-42. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis E causes a significant burden of disease in developing countries and has recently been increasingly recognized in developed countries. Comparing population anti-hepatitis E virus (HEV) seroprevalence across populations has been difficult. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to compare the anti-HEV IgG seroprevalence in both adults and children in three hyper-endemic areas (Nepal, Bangladesh and southwest France) using a sensitive, commercial anti-HEV IgG assay. STUDY DESIGN: Serum or plasma from adults and children in Nepal (n=498), Bangladesh (n=1,009) and Southwest France (n=1031) were tested for anti-HEV IgG using the Wantai assay. RESULTS: After age-standardization, anti-HEV IgG seroprevalence was 47.1%, 49.8% and 34.0% in Nepal, Bangladesh and southwest France, respectively. There was no difference in seroprevalence by gender in any of the countries. A paucity of infections in children 1-10 years-old was consistently observed (less than 15%) at all 3 locations. CONCLUSIONS: Surprisingly similar high rates of anti-HEV antibodies were detected using a common, sensitive assay. Despite differences in the epidemiology and circulating genotype of HEV in Nepal, Bangladesh and southwest France, this study found more similarities in population seroprevalence than expected.

Parry CM, Thieu NTV, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR, Ha V, Tran CN et al. 2015. Clinically and Microbiologically Derived Azithromycin Susceptibility Breakpoints for Salmonella enterica Serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A (vol 59, pg 2756, 2015) ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, 59 (7), pp. 4364-4364. | Read more

Parry CM, Thieu NT, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR, Ha V, Tran CN et al. 2015. Erratum for Parry et al., Clinically and microbiologically derived azithromycin susceptibility breakpoints for Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (7), pp. 4364. | Read more

Parry CM, Thieu NT, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR, Ha V, Tran CN et al. 2015. Clinically and microbiologically derived azithromycin susceptibility breakpoints for Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (5), pp. 2756-2764. | Show Abstract | Read more

Azithromycin is an effective treatment for uncomplicated infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and serovar Paratyphi A (enteric fever), but there are no clinically validated MIC and disk zone size interpretative guidelines. We studied individual patient data from three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of antimicrobial treatment in enteric fever in Vietnam, with azithromycin used in one treatment arm, to determine the relationship between azithromycin treatment response and the azithromycin MIC of the infecting isolate. We additionally compared the azithromycin MIC and the disk susceptibility zone sizes of 1,640 S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A clinical isolates collected from seven Asian countries. In the RCTs, 214 patients who were treated with azithromycin at a dose of 10 to 20 mg/ml for 5 to 7 days were analyzed. Treatment was successful in 195 of 214 (91%) patients, with no significant difference in response (cure rate, fever clearance time) with MICs ranging from 4 to 16 μg/ml. The proportion of Asian enteric fever isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml was 1,452/1,460 (99.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 98.9 to 99.7) for S. Typhi and 207/240 (86.3%; 95% CI, 81.2 to 90.3) (P < 0.001) for S. Paratyphi A. A zone size of ≥ 13 mm to a 5-μg azithromycin disk identified S. Typhi isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 99.7%. An azithromycin MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml or disk inhibition zone size of ≥ 13 mm enabled the detection of susceptible S. Typhi isolates that respond to azithromycin treatment. Further work is needed to define the response to treatment in S. Typhi isolates with an azithromycin MIC of >16 μg/ml and to determine MIC and disk breakpoints for S. Paratyphi A.

Thompson CN, Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Arjyal A, Karkey A, Dongol S, Giri A, Dolecek C, Day N, Baker S et al. 2015. Undifferentiated febrile illness in Kathmandu, Nepal. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (4), pp. 875-878. | Show Abstract | Read more

Undifferentiated febrile illnesses (UFIs) are common in low- and middle-income countries. We prospectively investigated the causes of UFIs in 627 patients presenting to a tertiary referral hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. Patients with microbiologically confirmed enteric fever (218 of 627; 34.8%) randomized to gatifloxacin or ofloxacin treatment were previously reported. We randomly selected 125 of 627 (20%) of these UFI patients, consisting of 96 of 409 (23%) cases with sterile blood cultures and 29 of 218 (13%) cases with enteric fever, for additional diagnostic investigations. We found serological evidence of acute murine typhus in 21 of 125 (17%) patients, with 12 of 21 (57%) patients polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive for Rickettsia typhi. Three UFI cases were quantitative PCR-positive for Rickettsia spp., two UFI cases were seropositive for Hantavirus, and one UFI case was seropositive for Q fever. Fever clearance time (FCT) for rickettsial infection was 44.5 hours (interquartile range = 26-66 hours), and there was no difference in FCT between ofloxacin or gatifloxacin. Murine typhus represents an important cause of predominantly urban UFIs in Nepal, and fluoroquinolones seem to be an effective empirical treatment.

Chung The H, Karkey A, Pham Thanh D, Boinett CJ, Cain AK, Ellington M, Baker KS, Dongol S, Thompson C, Harris SR et al. 2015. A high-resolution genomic analysis of multidrug-resistant hospital outbreaks of Klebsiella pneumoniae. EMBO Mol Med, 7 (3), pp. 227-239. | Show Abstract | Read more

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) Klebsiella pneumoniae has become a leading cause of nosocomial infections worldwide. Despite its prominence, little is known about the genetic diversity of K. pneumoniae in resource-poor hospital settings. Through whole-genome sequencing (WGS), we reconstructed an outbreak of MDR K. pneumoniae occurring on high-dependency wards in a hospital in Kathmandu during 2012 with a case-fatality rate of 75%. The WGS analysis permitted the identification of two MDR K. pneumoniae lineages causing distinct outbreaks within the complex endemic K. pneumoniae. Using phylogenetic reconstruction and lineage-specific PCR, our data predicted a scenario in which K. pneumoniae, circulating for 6 months before the outbreak, underwent a series of ward-specific clonal expansions after the acquisition of genes facilitating virulence and MDR. We suggest that the early detection of a specific NDM-1 containing lineage in 2011 would have alerted the high-dependency ward staff to intervene. We argue that some form of real-time genetic characterisation, alongside clade-specific PCR during an outbreak, should be factored into future healthcare infection control practices in both high- and low-income settings.

Wong VK, Baker S, Pickard DJ, Parkhill J, Page AJ, Feasey NA, Kingsley RA, Thomson NR, Keane JA, Weill FX et al. 2015. Phylogeographical analysis of the dominant multidrug-resistant H58 clade of Salmonella Typhi identifies inter- and intracontinental transmission events. Nat Genet, 47 (6), pp. 632-639. | Show Abstract | Read more

The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) typhoid is a major global health threat affecting many countries where the disease is endemic. Here whole-genome sequence analysis of 1,832 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) identifies a single dominant MDR lineage, H58, that has emerged and spread throughout Asia and Africa over the last 30 years. Our analysis identifies numerous transmissions of H58, including multiple transfers from Asia to Africa and an ongoing, unrecognized MDR epidemic within Africa itself. Notably, our analysis indicates that H58 lineages are displacing antibiotic-sensitive isolates, transforming the global population structure of this pathogen. H58 isolates can harbor a complex MDR element residing either on transmissible IncHI1 plasmids or within multiple chromosomal integration sites. We also identify new mutations that define the H58 lineage. This phylogeographical analysis provides a framework to facilitate global management of MDR typhoid and is applicable to similar MDR lineages emerging in other bacterial species.

Shrestha P, Arjyal A, Caws M, Prajapati KG, Karkey A, Dongol S, Pathak S, Prajapati S, Basnyat B. 2015. The Application of GeneXpert MTB/RIF for Smear-Negative TB Diagnosis as a Fee-Paying Service at a South Asian General Hospital. Tuberc Res Treat, 2015 pp. 102430. | Show Abstract | Read more

The GeneXpert MTB/RIF assay (Xpert) is a novel automated diagnostic tool for tuberculosis but its optimal placement in the healthcare system has not been determined. The objective of this study was to determine the possibility of additional case detection for pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) by offering Xpert to smear-negative patients in a low-HIV burden setting with no Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb.) culture facilities. Patients routinely presenting with symptoms suggestive of PTB with negative smears were offered single Xpert test on a fee-paying basis. Data were retrospectively reviewed to determine case detection in patients tested from February to December 2013. Symptoms associated with a positive test were analysed to determine if refinement of clinical criteria would reduce unnecessary testing. 258 smear-negative patients were included and M.tb. was detected in 55 (21.32%, n = 55/258). Using standard clinical assessment for selection, testing 5 patients detected one case of smear-negative PTB. These results demonstrate that fee-paying Xpert service in low-income setting can increase TB case confirmation substantially and further systematic studies of health economic implications should be conducted to determine optimal implementation models to increase access to Xpert in low- and middle-income countries.

Näsström E, Vu Thieu NT, Dongol S, Karkey A, Voong Vinh P, Ha Thanh T, Johansson A, Arjyal A, Thwaites G, Dolecek C et al. 2014. Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A elaborate distinct systemic metabolite signatures during enteric fever. Elife, 3 | Show Abstract | Read more

The host-pathogen interactions induced by Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A during enteric fever are poorly understood. This knowledge gap, and the human restricted nature of these bacteria, limit our understanding of the disease and impede the development of new diagnostic approaches. To investigate metabolite signals associated with enteric fever we performed two dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC/TOFMS) on plasma from patients with S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A infections and asymptomatic controls, identifying 695 individual metabolite peaks. Applying supervised pattern recognition, we found highly significant and reproducible metabolite profiles separating S. Typhi cases, S. Paratyphi A cases, and controls, calculating that a combination of six metabolites could accurately define the etiological agent. For the first time we show that reproducible and serovar specific systemic biomarkers can be detected during enteric fever. Our work defines several biologically plausible metabolites that can be used to detect enteric fever, and unlocks the potential of this method in diagnosing other systemic bacterial infections.

Baker S, Karkey A, Parry C. 2014. Are we adequately prepared for the emergence of Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi A? Lancet Glob Health, 2 (4), pp. e195-e196. | Read more

Dunstan SJ, Hue NT, Han B, Li Z, Tram TT, Sim KS, Parry CM, Chinh NT, Vinh H, Lan NP et al. 2014. Variation at HLA-DRB1 is associated with resistance to enteric fever. Nat Genet, 46 (12), pp. 1333-1336. | Show Abstract | Read more

Enteric fever affects more than 25 million people annually and results from systemic infection with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi or Paratyphi pathovars A, B or C(1). We conducted a genome-wide association study of 432 individuals with blood culture-confirmed enteric fever and 2,011 controls from Vietnam. We observed strong association at rs7765379 (odds ratio (OR) for the minor allele = 0.18, P = 4.5 × 10(-10)), a marker mapping to the HLA class II region, in proximity to HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DRB1. We replicated this association in 595 enteric fever cases and 386 controls from Nepal and also in a second independent collection of 151 cases and 668 controls from Vietnam. Imputation-based fine-mapping across the extended MHC region showed that the classical HLA-DRB1*04:05 allele (OR = 0.14, P = 2.60 × 10(-11)) could entirely explain the association at rs7765379, thus implicating HLA-DRB1 as a major contributor to resistance against enteric fever, presumably through antigen presentation.

Giri A, Arjyal A, Koirala S, Karkey A, Dongol S, Thapa SD, Shilpakar O, Shrestha R, van Tan L, Thi Thuy Chinh BN et al. 2013. Aetiologies of central nervous system infections in adults in Kathmandu, Nepal: a prospective hospital-based study. Sci Rep, 3 (1), pp. 2382. | Show Abstract | Read more

We conducted a prospective hospital based study from February 2009-April 2011 to identify the possible pathogens of central nervous system (CNS) infections in adults admitted to a tertiary referral hospital (Patan Hospital) in Kathmandu, Nepal. The pathogens of CNS infections were confirmed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) using molecular diagnostics, culture (bacteria) and serology. 87 patients were recruited for the study and the etiological diagnosis was established in 38% (n = 33). The bacterial pathogens identified were Neisseria meningitidis (n = 6); Streptococcus pneumoniae (n = 5) and Staphylococcus aureus (n = 2) in 13/87(14%). Enteroviruses were found in 12/87 (13%); Herpes Simplex virus (HSV) in 2/87(2%). IgM against Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) was detected in the CSF of 11/73 (15%) tested samples. This is the first prospective molecular and serology based CSF analysis in adults with CNS infections in Kathmandu, Nepal. JEV and enteroviruses were the most commonly detected pathogens in this setting.

Andrews JR, Prajapati KG, Eypper E, Shrestha P, Shakya M, Pathak KR, Joshi N, Tiwari P, Risal M, Koirala S et al. 2013. Evaluation of an electricity-free, culture-based approach for detecting typhoidal Salmonella bacteremia during enteric fever in a high burden, resource-limited setting. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (6), pp. e2292. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In many rural areas at risk for enteric fever, there are few data on Salmonella enterica serotypes Typhi (S. Typhi) and Paratyphi (S. Paratyphi) incidence, due to limited laboratory capacity for microbiologic culture. Here, we describe an approach that permits recovery of the causative agents of enteric fever in such settings. This approach involves the use of an electricity-free incubator based upon use of phase-change materials. We compared this against conventional blood culture for detection of typhoidal Salmonella. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Three hundred and four patients with undifferentiated fever attending the outpatient and emergency departments of a public hospital in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal were recruited. Conventional blood culture was compared against an electricity-free culture approach. Blood from 66 (21.7%) patients tested positive for a Gram-negative bacterium by at least one of the two methods. Sixty-five (21.4%) patients tested blood culture positive for S. Typhi (30; 9.9%) or S. Paratyphi A (35; 11.5%). From the 65 individuals with culture-confirmed enteric fever, 55 (84.6%) were identified by the conventional blood culture and 60 (92.3%) were identified by the experimental method. Median time-to-positivity was 2 days for both procedures. The experimental approach was falsely positive due to probable skin contaminants in 2 of 239 individuals (0.8%). The percentages of positive and negative agreement for diagnosis of enteric fever were 90.9% (95% CI: 80.0%-97.0%) and 96.0% (92.7%-98.1%), respectively. After initial incubation, Salmonella isolates could be readily recovered from blood culture bottles maintained at room temperature for six months. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: A simple culture approach based upon a phase-change incubator can be used to isolate agents of enteric fever. This approach could be used as a surveillance tool to assess incidence and drug resistance of the etiologic agents of enteric fever in settings without reliable local access to electricity or local diagnostic microbiology laboratories.

Karkey A, Thompson CN, Tran Vu Thieu N, Dongol S, Le Thi Phuong T, Voong Vinh P, Arjyal A, Martin LB, Rondini S, Farrar JJ et al. 2013. Differential epidemiology of Salmonella Typhi and Paratyphi A in Kathmandu, Nepal: a matched case control investigation in a highly endemic enteric fever setting. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (8), pp. e2391. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Enteric fever, a systemic infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A, is endemic in Kathmandu, Nepal. Previous work identified proximity to poor quality water sources as a community-level risk for infection. Here, we sought to examine individual-level risk factors related to hygiene and sanitation to improve our understanding of the epidemiology of enteric fever in this setting. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A matched case-control analysis was performed through enrollment of 103 blood culture positive enteric fever patients and 294 afebrile community-based age and gender-matched controls. A detailed questionnaire was administered to both cases and controls and the association between enteric fever infection and potential exposures were examined through conditional logistic regression. Several behavioral practices were identified as protective against infection with enteric fever, including water storage and hygienic habits. Additionally, we found that exposures related to poor water and socioeconomic status are more influential in the risk of infection with S. Typhi, whereas food consumption habits and migration play more of a role in risk of S. Paratyphi A infection. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: Our work suggests that S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A follow different routes of infection in this highly endemic setting and that sustained exposure to both serovars probably leads to the development of passive immunity. In the absence of a polyvalent vaccine against S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A, we advocate better systems for water treatment and storage, improvements in the quality of street food, and vaccination with currently available S. Typhi vaccines.

Koirala S, Basnyat B, Arjyal A, Shilpakar O, Shrestha K, Shrestha R, Shrestha UM, Agrawal K, Koirala KD, Thapa SD et al. 2013. Gatifloxacin versus ofloxacin for the treatment of uncomplicated enteric fever in Nepal: an open-label, randomized, controlled trial. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (10), pp. e2523. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Fluoroquinolones are the most commonly used group of antimicrobials for the treatment of enteric fever, but no direct comparison between two fluoroquinolones has been performed in a large randomised trial. An open-label randomized trial was conducted to investigate whether gatifloxacin is more effective than ofloxacin in the treatment of uncomplicated enteric fever caused by nalidixic acid-resistant Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Adults and children clinically diagnosed with uncomplicated enteric fever were enrolled in the study to receive gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg/day) in a single dose or ofloxacin (20 mg/kg/day) in two divided doses for 7 days. Patients were followed for six months. The primary outcome was treatment failure in patients infected with nalidixic acid resistant isolates. 627 patients with a median age of 17 (IQR 9-23) years were randomised. Of the 218 patients with culture confirmed enteric fever, 170 patients were infected with nalidixic acid-resistant isolates. In the ofloxacin group, 6 out of 83 patients had treatment failure compared to 5 out of 87 in the gatifloxacin group (hazard ratio [HR] of time to failure 0.81, 95% CI 0.25 to 2.65, p = 0.73). The median time to fever clearance was 4.70 days (IQR 2.98-5.90) in the ofloxacin group versus 3.31 days (IQR 2.29-4.75) in the gatifloxacin group (HR = 1.59, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.18, p = 0.004). The results in all blood culture-confirmed patients and all randomized patients were comparable. CONCLUSION: Gatifloxacin was not superior to ofloxacin in preventing failure, but use of gatifloxacin did result in more prompt fever clearance time compared to ofloxacin. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN 63006567 (www.controlled-trials.com).

Koirala KD, Thanh DP, Thapa SD, Arjyal A, Karkey A, Dongol S, Shrestha UM, Farrar JJ, Basnyat B, Baker S. 2012. Highly resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi with a novel gyrA mutation raises questions about the long-term efficacy of older fluoroquinolones for treating typhoid fever. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56 (5), pp. 2761-2762. | Show Abstract | Read more

As a consequence of multidrug resistance, clinicians are highly dependent on fluoroquinolones for treating the serious systemic infection typhoid fever. While reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones, which lessens clinical efficacy, is becoming ubiquitous, comprehensive resistance is exceptional. Here we report ofloxacin treatment failure in typhoidal patient infected with a novel, highly fluoroquinolone-resistant isolate of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. The isolation of this organism has serious implications for the long-term efficacy of ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin for typhoid treatment.

Dongol S, Thompson CN, Clare S, Nga TV, Duy PT, Karkey A, Arjyal A, Koirala S, Khatri NS, Maskey P et al. 2012. The microbiological and clinical characteristics of invasive salmonella in gallbladders from cholecystectomy patients in kathmandu, Nepal. PLoS One, 7 (10), pp. e47342. | Show Abstract | Read more

Gallbladder carriage of invasive Salmonella is considered fundamental in sustaining typhoid fever transmission. Bile and tissue was obtained from 1,377 individuals undergoing cholecystectomy in Kathmandu to investigate the prevalence, characteristics and relevance of invasive Salmonella in the gallbladder in an endemic area. Twenty percent of bile samples contained a Gram-negative organism, with Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A isolated from 24 and 22 individuals, respectively. Gallbladders that contained Salmonella were more likely to show evidence of acute inflammation with extensive neutrophil infiltrate than those without Salmonella, corresponding with higher neutrophil and lower lymphocyte counts in the blood of Salmonella positive individuals. Antimicrobial resistance in the invasive Salmonella isolates was limited, indicating that gallbladder colonization is unlikely to be driven by antimicrobial resistance. The overall role of invasive Salmonella carriage in the gallbladder is not understood; here we show that 3.5% of individuals undergoing cholecystectomy in this setting have a high concentration of antimicrobial sensitive, invasive Salmonella in their bile. We predict that such individuals will become increasingly important if current transmission mechanisms are disturbed; prospectively identifying these individuals is, therefore, paramount for rapid local and regional elimination.

Arjyal A, Basnyat B, Koirala S, Karkey A, Dongol S, Agrawaal KK, Shakya N, Shrestha K, Sharma M, Lama S et al. 2011. Gatifloxacin versus chloramphenicol for uncomplicated enteric fever: an open-label, randomised, controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 11 (6), pp. 445-454. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: We aimed to investigate whether gatifloxacin, a new generation and affordable fluoroquinolone, is better than chloramphenicol for the treatment of uncomplicated enteric fever in children and adults. METHODS: We did an open-label randomised superiority trial at Patan Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal, to investigate whether gatifloxacin is more effective than chloramphenicol for treating uncomplicated enteric fever. Children and adults clinically diagnosed with enteric fever received either gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg) once a day for 7 days, or chloramphenicol (75 mg/kg per day) in four divided doses for 14 days. Patients were randomly allocated treatment (1:1) in blocks of 50, without stratification. Allocations were placed in sealed envelopes opened by the study physician once a patient was enrolled into the trial. Masking was not possible because of the different formulations and ways of giving the two drugs. The primary outcome measure was treatment failure, which consisted of at least one of the following: persistent fever at day 10, need for rescue treatment, microbiological failure, relapse until day 31, and enteric-fever-related complications. The primary outcome was assessed in all patients randomly allocated treatment and reported separately for culture-positive patients and for all patients. Secondary outcome measures were fever clearance time, late relapse, and faecal carriage. The trial is registered on controlled-trials.com, number ISRCTN 53258327. FINDINGS: 844 patients with a median age of 16 (IQR 9-22) years were enrolled in the trial and randomly allocated a treatment. 352 patients had blood-culture-confirmed enteric fever: 175 were treated with chloramphenicol and 177 with gatifloxacin. 14 patients had treatment failure in the chloramphenicol group, compared with 12 in the gatifloxacin group (hazard ratio [HR] of time to failure 0·86, 95% CI 0·40-1·86, p=0·70). The median time to fever clearance was 3·95 days (95% CI 3·68-4·68) in the chloramphenicol group and 3·90 days (3·58-4·27) in the gatifloxacin group (HR 1·06, 0·86-1·32, p=0·59). At 1 month only, three of 148 patients were stool-culture positive in the chloramphenicol group and none in the gatifloxacin group. At the end of 3 months only one person had a positive stool culture in the chloramphenicol group. There were no other positive stool cultures even at the end of 6 months. Late relapses were noted in three of 175 patients in the culture-confirmed chloramphenicol group and two of 177 in the gatifloxacin group. There were no culture-positive relapses after day 62. 99 patients (24%) experienced 168 adverse events in the chloramphenicol group and 59 (14%) experienced 73 events in the gatifloxacin group. INTERPRETATION: Although no more efficacious than chloramphenicol, gatifloxacin should be the preferred treatment for enteric fever in developing countries because of its shorter treatment duration and fewer adverse events. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust.

Baker S, Holt KE, Clements AC, Karkey A, Arjyal A, Boni MF, Dongol S, Hammond N, Koirala S, Duy PT et al. 2011. Combined high-resolution genotyping and geospatial analysis reveals modes of endemic urban typhoid fever transmission. Open Biol, 1 (2), pp. 110008. | Show Abstract | Read more

Typhoid is a systemic infection caused by Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A, human-restricted bacteria that are transmitted faeco-orally. Salmonella Typhi and S. Paratyphi A are clonal, and their limited genetic diversity has precluded the identification of long-term transmission networks in areas with a high disease burden. To improve our understanding of typhoid transmission we have taken a novel approach, performing a longitudinal spatial case-control study for typhoid in Nepal, combining single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping and case localization via global positioning. We show extensive clustering of typhoid occurring independent of population size and density. For the first time, we demonstrate an extensive range of genotypes existing within typhoid clusters, and even within individual households, including some resulting from clonal expansion. Furthermore, although the data provide evidence for direct human-to-human transmission, we demonstrate an overwhelming contribution of indirect transmission, potentially via contaminated water. Consistent with this, we detected S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A in water supplies and found that typhoid was spatially associated with public water sources and low elevation. These findings have implications for typhoid-control strategies, and our innovative approach may be applied to other diseases caused by other monophyletic or emerging pathogens.

Parry CM, Thuy CT, Dongol S, Karkey A, Vinh H, Chinh NT, Duy PT, Thieu Nga TV, Campbell JI, Van Minh Hoang N et al. 2010. Suitable disk antimicrobial susceptibility breakpoints defining Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 54 (12), pp. 5201-5208. | Show Abstract | Read more

Infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates that have reduced susceptibility to ofloxacin (MIC ≥ 0.25 μg/ml) or ciprofloxacin (MIC ≥ 0.125 μg/ml) have been associated with a delayed response or clinical failure following treatment with these antimicrobials. These isolates are not detected as resistant using current disk susceptibility breakpoints. We examined 816 isolates of S. Typhi from seven Asian countries. Screening for nalidixic acid resistance (MIC ≥ 16 μg/ml) identified isolates with an ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 97.3% (253/260) and specificity of 99.3% (552/556). For isolates with a ciprofloxacin MIC of ≥0.125 μg/ml, the sensitivity was 92.9% (248/267) and specificity was 98.4% (540/549). A zone of inhibition of ≤28 mm around a 5-μg ofloxacin disc detected strains with an ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 94.6% (246/260) and specificity of 94.2% (524/556). A zone of inhibition of ≤30 mm detected isolates with a ciprofloxacin MIC of ≥0.125 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 94.0% (251/267) and specificity of 94.2% (517/549). An ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 μg/ml and a ciprofloxacin MIC of ≥0.125 μg/ml detected 74.5% (341/460) of isolates with an identified quinolone resistance-inducing mutation and 81.5% (331/406) of the most common mutant (carrying a serine-to-phenylalanine mutation at codon 83 in the gyrA gene). Screening for nalidixic acid resistance or ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin disk inhibition zone are suitable for detecting S. Typhi isolates with reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility.

Karkey A, Arjyal A, Anders KL, Boni MF, Dongol S, Koirala S, My PV, Nga TV, Clements AC, Holt KE et al. 2010. The burden and characteristics of enteric fever at a healthcare facility in a densely populated area of Kathmandu. PLoS One, 5 (11), pp. e13988. | Show Abstract | Read more

Enteric fever, caused by Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A (S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A) remains a major public health problem in many settings. The disease is limited to locations with poor sanitation which facilitates the transmission of the infecting organisms. Efficacious and inexpensive vaccines are available for S. Typhi, yet are not commonly deployed to control the disease. Lack of vaccination is due partly to uncertainty of the disease burden arising from a paucity of epidemiological information in key locations. We have collected and analyzed data from 3,898 cases of blood culture-confirmed enteric fever from Patan Hospital in Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City (LSMC), between June 2005 and May 2009. Demographic data was available for a subset of these patients (n = 527) that were resident in LSMC and who were enrolled in trials. We show a considerable burden of enteric fever caused by S. Typhi (2,672; 68.5%) and S. Paratyphi A (1,226; 31.5%) at this Hospital over a four year period, which correlate with seasonal fluctuations in rainfall. We found that local population density was not related to incidence and we identified a focus of infections in the east of LSMC. With data from patients resident in LSMC we found that the median age of those with S. Typhi (16 years) was significantly less than S. Paratyphi A (20 years) and that males aged 15 to 25 were disproportionately infected. Our findings provide a snapshot into the epidemiological patterns of enteric fever in Kathmandu. The uneven distribution of enteric fever patients within the population suggests local variation in risk factors, such as contaminated drinking water. These findings are important for initiating a vaccination scheme and improvements in sanitation. We suggest any such intervention should be implemented throughout the LSMC area.

Nga TV, Karkey A, Dongol S, Thuy HN, Dunstan S, Holt K, Tu LETP, Campbell JI, Chau TT, Chau NV et al. 2010. The sensitivity of real-time PCR amplification targeting invasive Salmonella serovars in biological specimens. BMC Infect Dis, 10 (1), pp. 125. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: PCR amplification for the detection of pathogens in biological material is generally considered a rapid and informative diagnostic technique. Invasive Salmonella serovars, which cause enteric fever, can be commonly cultured from the blood of infected patients. Yet, the isolation of invasive Salmonella serovars from blood is protracted and potentially insensitive. METHODS: We developed and optimised a novel multiplex three colour real-time PCR assay to detect specific target sequences in the genomes of Salmonella serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. We performed the assay on DNA extracted from blood and bone marrow samples from culture positive and negative enteric fever patients. RESULTS: The assay was validated and demonstrated a high level of specificity and reproducibility under experimental conditions. All bone marrow samples tested positive for Salmonella, however, the sensitivity on blood samples was limited. The assay demonstrated an overall specificity of 100% (75/75) and sensitivity of 53.9% (69/128) on all biological samples. We then tested the PCR detection limit by performing bacterial counts after inoculation into blood culture bottles. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings corroborate previous clinical findings, whereby the bacterial load of S. Typhi in peripheral blood is low, often below detection by culture and, consequently, below detection by PCR. Whilst the assay may be utilised for environmental sampling or on differing biological samples, our data suggest that PCR performed directly on blood samples may be an unsuitable methodology and a potentially unachievable target for the routine diagnosis of enteric fever.

Khatri NS, Maskey P, Poudel S, Jaiswal VK, Karkey A, Koirala S, Shakya N, Agrawal K, Arjyal A, Basnyat B et al. 2009. Gallbladder carriage of Salmonella paratyphi A may be an important factor in the increasing incidence of this infection in South Asia. Ann Intern Med, 150 (8), pp. 567-568. | Read more

Karkey A, Aryjal A, Basnyat B, Baker S. 2008. Kathmandu, Nepal: still an enteric fever capital of the world. J Infect Dev Ctries, 2 (6), pp. 461-465. | Show Abstract

Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, has been previously coined an enteric fever capital of the world. Several studies have poignantly emphasized the significant burden of enteric fever within the local population and in travellers visiting the area. The population of Kathmandu is increasing and available figures suggest that enteric fever caused by Salmonella serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A show no significant signs of decreasing. Furthermore, our recent research demonstrates that the ratio of disease caused by these two organisms is shifting towards S. Paratyphi A. Here, we outline some of the major features of enteric fever in Kathmandu, including diagnosis, seasonal variation, transmission, and some characteristics of the infecting organisms. Our findings highlight the requirement for better understanding of the disease within the city; in turn, this will aid development of a targeted control strategy.

2549