This study aims to compare a combination of azithromycin and cefixime with azithromycin alone in the outpatient treatment of uncomplicated typhoid fever and additionally investigate cost-effectiveness of the treatment option and the financial implications for families and health system.
Typhoid and paratyphoid (enteric) fever affects more than 11 million children and adults globally each year including 7 million in South Asia. Up to 1% of patients who get typhoid may die of the disease and, in those that survive, a prolonged period of ill health and catastrophic financial cost to the family may follow. In the last 20 years, treatment of typhoid fever with a 7-day course of a single oral antimicrobial, such as ciprofloxacin, cefixime or azithromycin, given in an out-patient setting has led to patient recovery in 4 to 6 days without the need for expensive hospitalization. Increasing antimicrobial resistance in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, threatens the effectiveness of these treatments and increases the risk of prolonged illness and severe disease. The recent emergence of a particularly resistant typhoid strain in Pakistan, and subsequent international spread, adds urgency to this problem and Salmonella is now listed as a high (Priority 2) pathogen by WHO.
We will recruit 1500 patients across sites in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. A placebo (sugar pill) will be used instead of cefixime in the single drug arm so that neither the patient nor the study team know which patient is receiving which treatment. Costs and outcomes related to will be collected alongside with this multinational randomized controlled trial.