In this paper we report the distribution of Salmonella Typhi isolates in Italy and their
resistance patterns to antibiotics. The data were collected by the Italian SALM–NET
surveillance system in a pilot retrospective study of the period 1980–96. Data on drug-resistance were available for 82 isolates out of 176 S. Typhi isolated in Italy. Of these 82
isolates, 32 (39%) were resistant or intermediate to 1 or more antibiotics. Eight isolates were
resistant and 7 intermediate to streptomycin; 4 isolates were resistant to ampicillin alone or in
association with other antibiotics; only 2 strains (1 isolated in Lombardia in 1993 and the
other 1 in Lazio in 1994) were resistant to chloramphenicol, and 2 (isolated in Sardegna and
Piemonte in 1995 and 1996, respectively) showed intermediate resistance to chloramphenicol.
The strains showing resistance to 3 or more antibiotics were very scarce: 1 (with 5 complete
resistances) was isolated in Lazio in 1994, and another 1 (with complete resistance to 10
antibiotics and intermediate resistance to 2 antibiotics) was isolated in Molise in 1988. In
conclusion, besides the routine activities to control typhoid fever, an accurate and continuous
surveillance is necessary in order to quickly identify multidrug-resistant (MDR) S. Typhi
strains and prevent their spread, even though their level, in our country, is still quite low.