Background: Typhoid and paratyphoid fever remain important causes of morbidity worldwide. Accurate disease burden estimates are needed to guide policy decisions and prevention and control strategies.
Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review of the PubMed and Scopus databases using pre-defined criteria to identify population-based studies with typhoid fever incidence data published between 1980 and 2009. We also abstracted data from annual reports of notifiable diseases in countries with advanced surveillance systems. Typhoid and paratyphoid fever input data were grouped into regions and regional incidence and mortality rates were estimated. Incidence data were extrapolated across regions for those lacking data. Age-specific incidence rates were derived for regions where age-specific data were available. Crude and adjusted estimates of the global typhoid fever burden were calculated.
Results: Twenty-five studies were identified, all of which contained incidence data on typhoid fever and 12 on paratyphoid fever. Five advanced surveillance systems contributed data on typhoid fever; 2 on paratyphoid fever. Regional typhoid fever incidence rates ranged from <0.1/100 000 cases/y in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia to 724.6/100 000 cases/y in Sub-Saharan Africa. Regional paratyphoid incidence rates ranged from 0.8/100 000 cases/y in North Africa/Middle East to 77.4/100 000 cases/y in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The estimated total number of typhoid fever episodes in 2010 was 13.5 million (interquartile range 9.1-17.8 million). The adjusted estimate accounting for the low sensitivity of blood cultures for isolation of the bacteria was 26.9 million (interquartile range 18.3-35.7 million) episodes. These findings are comparable to the most recent analysis of global typhoid fever morbidity, which reported crude and adjusted estimates of 10.8 million and 21.7 million typhoid fever episodes globally in 2000.
Conclusion: Typhoid fever remains a significant health burden, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Despite the availability of more recent data on both enteric fevers, additional research is needed in many regions, particularly Africa, Latin America and other developing countries.