Shigellosis in neonates and young infants

W. Charles Huskins, Jeffrey K. Griffiths, A. S.G. Faruque, Michael L. Bennish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


To determine the clinical features and outcome of shigellosis in young infants, we reviewed the hospital records of 159 infants ≤ 3 months of age (including 30 neonates) and 159 children 1 to 10 years of age with shigellosis who were admitted to the Diarrhoea Treatment Centre in Dacca, Bangladesh. Infants more commonly had a history of nonbloody diarrhea (82.8% vs 42.7%; p <0.001), moderate or severe dehydration (59.9% vs 32.1%; p <0.001), or bacteremia (12.0% vs 5.0%; p = 0.027) and less commonly had fever (32.7% vs 58.6%; p <0.001), abdominal tenderness (1.9% vs 12.6%; p <0.001), or rectal prolapse (0% vs 8.3%; p = 0.001). Infections caused by Shigella boydii (20.8% vs 6.3%; p <0.001) and Shigella sonnei (7.5% vs 1.3%; p = 0.006) were more common, and Shigella dysenteriae type 1 (9.4% vs 31.4%; p <0.001) infections were less common in infants than in older children; the proportion of Shigella flexneri infections was equivalent in the two groups (59.1% vs 60.4%). Infants were twice as likely to die as older children (16.4% vs 8.2%; p = 0.026). Only 17 infants (14.3%) were being exclusively breast fed at the onset of their illness. In a multiple logistic regression analysis, independent predictors of death in infants were gram-negative bacteremia, ileus, decreased bowel sounds, hyponatremia, hypoproteinemia, and a lower number of erythrocytes detected on microscopic examination of stool specimens. Diarrhea management algorithms that rely only on clinical findings of dysentery to diagnose and treat shigellosis are likely to be unreliable in this high-risk age group. (J PEDIATR 1994;125:14-22)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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