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Little is known about the genetic diversity of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) circulating in Latin America. It has been observed that typhoid fever is still endemic in this part of the world; however, a lack of standardized blood culture surveillance across Latin American makes estimating the true disease burden problematic. The Colombian National Health Service established a surveillance system for tracking bacterial pathogens, including S. Typhi, in 2006. Here, we characterized 77 representative Colombian S. Typhi isolates collected between 1997 and 2018 using pulse field gel electrophoresis (PFGE; the accepted genotyping method in Latin America) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). We found that the main S. Typhi clades circulating in Colombia were clades 2.5 and 3.5. Notably, the sequenced S. Typhi isolates from Colombia were closely related in a global phylogeny. Consequently, these data suggest that these are endemic clades circulating in Colombia. We found that AMR in S. Typhi in Colombia was uncommon, with a small subset of organisms exhibiting mutations associated with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. This is the first time that S. Typhi isolated from Colombia have been characterized by WGS, and after comparing these data with those generated using PFGE, we conclude that PFGE is unsuitable for tracking S. Typhi clones and mapping transmission. The genetic diversity of pathogens such as S. Typhi is limited in Latin America and should be targeted for future surveillance studies incorporating WGS.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS neglected tropical diseases

Publication Date





Grupo de Microbiología, Instituto Nacional de Salud, Bogotá, Colombia.