Salmonella Typhi is responsible for about 20 million episodes of illness and over 140,000 deaths annually globally. South Asia has the highest documented burden of typhoid and is home to the multi-drug resistant H58 strain that makes treatment more challenging. The WHO recommends the use of Typhoid Conjugate Vaccines in typhoid endemic countries. Decisions on the preferred immunization strategy should be based on an analysis of disease burden, availability, affordability, and operational feasibility. Typhoid vaccines have so far remained unimplemented as public health measures because of a perceived decline in typhoid burden in recent years. The apparent decline, based on hospital reports, may be a result of rampant antimicrobial use in the community and therefore estimation of disease incidence at the community is necessary to better measure disease incidence and transmission.
Age-specific incidence of typhoid fever in children between 6 months and 15 years will be estimated in four community based cohorts in varied settings across India using standardized protocols for active fever surveillance in the community. Data will be collected on secured cloud infrastructure using a combination of android and web-based real-time data collection tools. Blood cultures will be done for children with fever lasting 3 or more consecutive days using automated blood culture systems. Those with blood-culture confirmed typhoid fever will be followed up till 90 days to estimate costs and clinical outcomes of the illness episodes. Environmental factors, access to safe water, sanitation, hygiene, food hygiene, demography, population density and socioeconomic status will be assessed periodically to characterise risk factors and permit extrapolation of burden to similar risk settings.
With the availability of licensed typhoid conjugated vaccines in India, it is important to consider whether the burden of disease is present and sufficient to require the use of vaccine in addition to other interventions. Active case finding in the community permits the detection of cases that would be missed in facility-based surveillance systems. Understanding the age distribution, burden, cost-of-illness and transmission of disease is essential to plan interventions and predict their potential impact.
The surveillance has been prospectively registered in the Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI/2017/09/009719) on 12 September 2017.