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Trop Doct. 1991 Oct;21(4):174-6.

Relative sensitivity of blood and bone marrow cultures in typhoid fever.

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Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria.


In a prospective study of typhoid fever in Ahmadu Bello University Hospital, Zaria, the relative diagnostic sensitivities of blood culture and bone marrow culture were studied. The results in 64 patients with proved diagnosis of typhoid fever (either by recovery of S. typhi from stool, blood and/or bone marrow or by a positive Widal agglutination test) are presented. Forty-four per cent and 59% of the patients yielded S. typhi on blood and bone marrow cultures, respectively. In 31 patients who were investigated by both blood and bone marrow cultures, the yields of S. typhi were 35% and 61% respectively. This difference is statistically significant (P less than 0.05). In this study bone marrow culture proved to be the most sensitive diagnostic test for typhoid fever. A simple technique of bone marrow aspiration is described and its use is recommended for large general teaching hospitals.

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