Chloramphenicol Resistance in the Typhoid Bacillus

Br Med J 1972; 3 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.3.5822.329 (Published 5 August 1972)
Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;3:329
  1. E. S. Anderson,
  2. H. R. Smith

    Abstract

    Chloramphenicol resistance has been reported in individual strains of Salmonella typhi since 1950, but there had been no accounts of epidemics caused by resistant strains of the organism until 1972, when one occurred in Mexico. Two British patients have been infected in that country, and the organism isolated from them corresponds in all respects with the description of the Mexican epidemic strain of S. typhi: it is a degraded Vi strain resistant to chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulphonamides, and tetracyclines. It owes its resistance to an R factor which can be transferred to Escherichia coli and thence to drugsensitive S. typhi. Although there is a negligible risk of dissemination of this strain in Britain the incident is a reminder of the need to restrict the use of drugs such as chloramphenicol to the serious diseases for which they are virtually specific.

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