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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015 Jun 11;9(6):e0003708. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003708. eCollection 2015.

The Rising Dominance of Shigella sonnei: An Intercontinental Shift in the Etiology of Bacillary Dysentery.

Author information

1
The Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Centre for Tropical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom; The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.
2
The Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Abstract

Shigellosis is the major global cause of dysentery. Shigella sonnei, which has historically been more commonly isolated in developed countries, is undergoing an unprecedented expansion across industrializing regions in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The precise reasons underpinning the epidemiological distribution of the various Shigella species and this global surge in S. sonnei are unclear but may be due to three major environmental pressures. First, natural passive immunization with the bacterium Plesiomonas shigelloides is hypothesized to protect populations with poor water supplies against S. sonnei. Improving the quality of drinking water supplies would, therefore, result in a reduction in P. shigelloides exposure and a subsequent reduction in environmental immunization against S. sonnei. Secondly, the ubiquitous amoeba species Acanthamoeba castellanii has been shown to phagocytize S. sonnei efficiently and symbiotically, thus allowing the bacteria access to a protected niche in which to withstand chlorination and other harsh environmental conditions in temperate countries. Finally, S. sonnei has emerged from Europe and begun to spread globally only relatively recently. A strong selective pressure from localized antimicrobial use additionally appears to have had a dramatic impact on the evolution of the S. sonnei population. We hypothesize that S. sonnei, which exhibits an exceptional ability to acquire antimicrobial resistance genes from commensal and pathogenic bacteria, has a competitive advantage over S. flexneri, particularly in areas with poorly regulated antimicrobial use. Continuing improvement in the quality of global drinking water supplies alongside the rapid development of antimicrobial resistance predicts the burden and international distribution of S. sonnei will only continue to grow. An effective vaccine against S. sonnei is overdue and may become one of our only weapons against this increasingly dominant and problematic gastrointestinal pathogen.

PMID:
26068698
PMCID:
PMC4466244
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pntd.0003708
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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