Frequency of isolation of various subtypes and antimicrobial resistance of Shigella from urban slums of Karachi, Pakistan

Document Type



Pathology and Microbiology



Shigellosis remains a major public health problem in developing countries. Antimicrobial resistance has complicated the empirical treatment. Knowledge of serotypes is crucial in vaccine development, as cross-protection between various serotypes is limited. Therefore we conducted a prospective study to determine the frequency of isolation of Shigella serotypes and antimicrobial resistance.


Stool samples from 8155 individuals, collected through a surveillance study conducted in four slums of Karachi from January 2002 to March 2004, were cultured.


Shigella was isolated in 394 (4.8%) of 8155 Patients presenting with diarrhea. Two hundred and forty-two (62%) isolates were Shigella flexneri, 72 (18%) were Shigella sonnei, 43 (11%) were Shigella boydii, and 37 (9%) were Shigella dysenteriae. Thirteen S. flexneri serotypes were identified, of which the most frequent were 2a (38), 6 (37), and 1b (25), followed by 2b (23). Only 22 (5.6%) Shigella isolates were found to be pan-susceptible. Large proportions of isolates were resistant to cotrimoxazole (89% S. flexneri, 81% S. dysenteriae, 80% S. sonnei, and 56% S. boydii) and ampicillin (87% S. flexneri, 68% S dysenteriae, 35% S. boydii, and 4% S. sonnei).


Concurrent circulation of multiple strains with high resistance is worrying and mandates surveillance at the national level to facilitate the control of shigellosis.


International Journal of Infectious Diseases