Culture-independent diagnostics have revealed a larger burden of Shigella among children in low-resource settings than previously recognized. We further characterized the epidemiology of Shigella in the first two years of life in a multisite birth cohort. We tested 41,405 diarrheal and monthly non-diarrheal stools from 1,715 children for Shigella by quantitative PCR. To assess risk factors, clinical factors related to age and culture positivity, and associations with inflammatory biomarkers, we used log-binomial regression with generalized estimating equations. The prevalence of Shigella varied from 4.9%-17.8% in non-diarrheal stools across sites, and the incidence of Shigella-attributable diarrhea was 31.8 cases (95% CI: 29.6, 34.2) per 100 child-years. The sensitivity of culture compared to qPCR was 6.6% and increased to 27.8% in Shigella-attributable dysentery. Shigella diarrhea episodes were more likely to be severe and less likely to be culture positive in younger children. Older age (RR: 1.75, 95% CI: 1.70, 1.81 per 6-month increase in age), unimproved sanitation (RR: 1.15, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.29), low maternal education (<10 years, RR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.26), initiating complementary foods before 3 months (RR: 1.10, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.20), and malnutrition (RR: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.88, 0.95 per unit increase in weight-for-age z-score) were risk factors for Shigella. There was a linear dose-response between Shigella quantity and myeloperoxidase concentrations. The burden of Shigella varied widely across sites, but uni-formly increased through the second year of life and was associated with intestinal inflam-mation. Culture missed most clinically relevant cases of severe diarrhea and dysentery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases