Their achievement, reported in the magazine Nature today, raises hope for the prospects of completely eradicating typhoid, which currently claims 600,000 lives a year globally.
Scientists are already using the sequence data, which is freely available on the web, to design new drugs to combat the disease and improve understanding of the way the bacteria spreads in communities and the mechanisms by which it causes disease.
The researchers unravelled the sequence of a strain of Salmonella typhi known as 'CT18', which is resistant to all cheap antibiotics and is close to becoming untreatable.
Professor Gordon Dougan of Imperial College, one of the leaders of the 390,000 project funded by the Wellcome Trust, said:
"The genetic blueprint of Salmonella is already leading to new methods of treatment and control, and better diagnostic tests. It provides enormous amounts of information and clues as to how it causes disease and spreads in the environment and food chain."
"By studying such a lethal strain of Salmonella, this research also has major implications for public health threats beyond typhoid, because it is an ideal model for the evolution of drug resistance in many diseases."
Dr Jeremy Farrar of the University of Oxford-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam, said:
"There is a real threat of untreatable typhoid emerging in the next few years in some countries. Already 90 per cent of strains in Vietnam are reported to be resistant to most available drugs - even those which have only just been developed.
"In recent years there have been major outbreaks in Asia and Africa and an increasing incidence in Europe and the USA. That is why this collaborative
sequencing project has been so vitally important. Hopefully it will lead to a vaccine that every
Contact: Tom Miller
Imperial College London