Health

NIH discontinues typhoid screening in hospitals

NIH discontinues typhoid screening

ISLAMABAD NIH discontinues typhoid screening: The National Institute of Health (NIH), the top public health organization in the nation, has instructed medical facilities and practitioners all over the nation to stop recommending two standard typhoid tests due to the possibility of false positive results and only use “blood culture tests” instead.

An expert claims that both tests are contributing to the spread of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid fever in the nation, which is resistant to the majority of antibiotics. He claimed that in addition to already exporting the poliovirus, the nation accused in recent years of doing so with typhoid antimicrobial resistance (AMR) bacteria.

NIH said in a letter that it has come to the knowledge of the institution that some clinical laboratories and hospitals, particularly in flood-affected areas, are still using “Widal” and “Typhidot” tests for confirmation of typhoid fever.

An expert claims that both tests are contributing to the spread of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid fever in the nation, which is resistant to the majority of antibiotics. He claimed that in addition to already exporting the poliovirus, the nation accused in recent years of doing so with typhoid antimicrobial resistance (AMR) bacteria.

In a letter, NIH stated that it is aware that some clinical laboratories and hospitals, particularly in flood-affected areas, continue to use the “Widal” and “Typhidot” tests for typhoid fever confirmation.

Authorities  asked to conduct a thorough investigation into the labs carrying out those tests through a letter issued to the federal health ministry, the Surgeon General of the Pakistan Army, the health departments of the four provinces, and other parties.

The Typhidot test also either stopped or discouraged in most of the countries of the world approximately ten years ago, according to a senior officer of NIH who specialises in infectious diseases, who told Dawn.

“Both tests can show false positive reports which means that a patient is not suffering from typhoid, but report shows him infected with typhoid bacteria. Resultantly doctors prescribe antibiotics to those patients which become a reason for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR),” he said.

 

“Although the best test for diagnosing typhoid, a blood culture test, costs about Rs2,000, most labs lack the equipment to do that test. Therefore, labs pay doctors commission to prescribe the Typhidot test, and it  typically recommended across the nation, he said.

In 2018, a renowned national public health institute of the United States published an advice addressing the emergence of XDR typhoid fever in Pakistan. At the time, Pakistan was already being blamed for exporting the polio virus and being accused of exporting AMR bacteria of typhoid. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory.

As a result of overuse of antibiotics, the bacteria have an internal intelligence that allows them to adapt to the medication and develop drug resistance. In the past, bacteria could be killed by low potency medications, however because of AMR, high potency medications are now needed to treat the same bacterium.

The NIH expert added that Pakistan will see a big number of people with the XDR typhoid virus if the unwise use of antibiotics persisted. For more than 40 years, the NIH  active in multidisciplinary public health-related activities such diagnostic services, research, and the manufacture of biologicals.

In addition to being a regional reference laboratory for polio, the institute is a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centre for viral diagnoses.

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