Causative Species and Serotypes of Shigellosis in Mainland China: Systematic Review and Meta-AnalysisReport as inadecuate

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Shigella, the causative agent of shigellosis, is a major global public health concern, particularly in developing countries with poor sanitation. A comprehensive and current understanding of the prevalent species and serotypes of shigellosis is essential for both disease prevention and vaccine development. However, no current data are available on the causative species-serotypes of shigellosis in mainland China during the past decade.

Methods and Findings

Relevant studies addressing the prevalent species of shigellosis in mainland China from January 2001 to December 2010 were identified from PubMed and the Chinese BioMedical Literature Database in Chinese until April 2012. A total of 131 eligible articles 136 studies were included in this review. Meta-analyses showed that the prevalences of S. flexneri and S. sonnei were 76.2% 95% CI, 73.7%–78.5% and 21.3% 95% CI, 19.0%–23.7%, respectively. Stratified analyses indicated a decrease in the prevalence of S. flexneri cases and an increase in the prevalence of S. sonnei cases concurrent with the rapid economic growth experienced by China in recent years. Moreover, significantly higher rates of S. sonnei were observed in the East, North and Northeast regions of China, as compared to the rest of the country. These phenomena imply the possible association between the prevalent species of Shigella and regional economic status; however, additional factors also exist and require further investigations. Moreover, the two major serotypes S. flexneri 2a and 4c accounted for 21.5% 95% CI, 16.7%–27.4% and 12.9% 95% CI 9.8%–16.9% of S. flexneri infections, respectively, in the past decade. However, these results were found to be frequently heterogeneous p for Q tests <0.01.


This study provides an updated review of the causative agents of shigellosis in mainland China and focuses on the importance of strengthening prevention and research efforts on S. sonnei and the newly emerged S. flexneri serotype 4c.

Author: Zhili Chang , Shuting Lu , Lihong Chen, Qi Jin , Jian Yang



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