The hospital records of 62 patients with blood culture-proven enteric fever admitted to the Dacca Hospital of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, over a one-year period were reviewed. Older children and young adults had the highest age-specific rates of disease. The clinical, epidemiplogical and laboratory features of patients with enteric fever were compared with similar information from patients in hospital for cholera and shigellosis. Patients with enteric fever had a significantly longer prodrome of illness and were more likely to have fever than patients in the other groups. Our hospital cares primarily for patients with diarrhoeal diseases and while 94% of enteric fever patients had diarrhoea, only 5% had the recognized diarrhoeal pathogens Shigella or Vibrio cholerae identified, compared to 25% of the total hospital in-patient group, suggesting that Salmonella typhi itself may be a cause of diarrhoea. Antibiotic resistance patterns of S. typhi isolates were reviewed, and one isolate was found to be multiply antibiotic resistant. The advent of an effective oral typhoid vaccine makes further work on the epidemiology of enteric fever in endemic areas such as Bangladesh a high priority.

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