Diversity within Shigella dysenteriae (n=40) and Shigella boydii (n=30) isolates from children living in Egypt aged <5 years was investigated. Shigella-associated diarrhoea occurred mainly in summer months and in children aged <3 years, it commonly presented with vomiting and fever. Serotypes 7 (30%), 2 (28%), and 3 (23%) accounted for most of S. dysenteriae isolates; 50% of S. boydii isolates were serotype 2. S. dysenteriae and S. boydii isolates were often resistant to ampicillin, chloramphenicol and tetracycline (42%, 17%, respectively), although resistance varied among serotypes. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis separated the isolates into distinct clusters correlating with species and serotype. Genetic differences in trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and β-lactam-encoding resistance genes were also evident. S. dysenteriae and S. boydii are genetically diverse pathogens in Egypt; the high level of multidrug resistance associated with both pathogens and resistance to the most available inexpensive antibiotics underlines the importance of continuing surveillance.
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