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Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 4;6:29124. doi: 10.1038/srep29124.

Molecular characterization and analysis of high-level multidrug-resistance of Shigella flexneri serotype 4s strains from China.

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Institute of Disease Control and Prevention, Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Beijing 100071, China.
Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100043, China.
Shanghai Municipal Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai 200336, China.
Henan Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Zhengzhou 450016, China.
Health Bureau, Logistics Support Department of Central Military Commission, Chinese PLA, Beijing 100038, China.


To conduct the first comprehensive analysis of Shigella flexneri serotype 4s, a novel serotype found in 2010, we identified 24 serotype 4s isolates from 1973 shigellosis cases in China (2002-2014). The isolates were characterized by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) phylogenetic analysis, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) to determine their genetic relatedness, and analysed further for their antimicrobial susceptibilities and antimicrobial resistance determinants. The PFGE and SNP phylogenetic analyses suggest that S. flexneri serotype 4s strains are derived from multiple serotypes, including two predominant serotypes in China: serotype X variant and serotype II. Three new sequence types were identified by MLST. All isolates were resistant to ticarcillin, ampicillin and tetracycline, with high-level resistance to third-generation cephalosporins. Notably, all the isolates were multidrug resistant (MDR), with the highest levels of resistance observed for eight antimicrobials classes. Most isolates contain various antimicrobial resistance determinants. In conclusion, we found that serotype 4s isolates have multiple evolutionary sources, diverse biochemical characteristics and genomes, and highly prevalent multidrug resistance and antimicrobial-resistant determinants. With few clinical treatment options, continuous monitoring and timely intervention against this emerging MDR serotype is essential. The possibility that serotype 4s will become the next predominant serotype exists.

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