Molecular epidemiology of Shigella flexneri isolated from pediatrics in a diarrhea-endemic area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Iqbal Nisa, Muhammad Qasim*, Arnold Driessen, Jeroen Nijland, Fazli Bari, Mohammad Haroon, Hazir Rahman, Nusrat Yasin, Taj Ali Khan, Mubbashir Hussain, Waheed Hussain

*Corresponding author for this work

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Shigella flexneri is considered as an important causative agent of Shigellosis causing diarrhea in the countries with a low socioeconomic status. No study has been carried out on the molecular prevalence of S. flexneri in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. So this study was designed to evaluate the molecular prevalence of S. flexneri and their associated risk factors. A total of 2014 diarrheal stool samples were collected from January 2016 to May 2017 from pediatrics patients of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa followed by identification of S. flexneri through biochemical, serological, and molecular methods. The overall prevalence of Shigella species was found to be 7.9% (n = 160). The predominant Shigella specie was S. flexneri (n = 155, 96.8%) followed by S. boydii (n = 5, 3.1%). Interestingly, no sample was found positive for S. sonnei and S. dysenteriae. The majority of Shigellosis cases occurred from June to September. Potential risk factors related with Shigellosis were unhygienic latrine usage, bad hand washing, and consumption of unhygienic food and water, and pipe leakage in the sewage system. In this study, we have observed a high number of Shigellosis cases especially those caused by S. flexneri. It is suggested that effective health awareness programs should be organized by the regional health authorities to minimize the magnitude of pediatrics Shigellosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-985
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
Early online date15-Jan-2020
Publication statusPublished - May-2020


  • S. flexneri
  • Pediatrics
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Diarrhea
  • Endemic area
  • Pakistan

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