Enteric Fever in Mediterranean North Africa
Typhoid fever is endemic in the Mediterranean North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt) with an estimated incidence of 10-100 cases per 100,000 persons. Outbreaks caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi are common and mainly due to the consumption of untreated or sewage-contaminated water. Salmonella enterica Paratyphi B is more commonly involved in nosocomial cases of enteric fever in North Africa than expected and leads to high mortality rates among infants with congenital anomalies. Prevalence among travellers returning from this region is low, with an estimate of less than one per 100,000. Although multidrug resistant strains of Salmonella Typhi and Paratyphi are prevalent in this region, the re-emergence of chloramphenicol- and ampicillin-susceptible strains has been observed. In order to better understand the epidemiology of enteric fever in the Mediterranean North African region, population-based studies are needed. These will assist the health authorities in the region in preventing and controlling this important disease.