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Recent trends in the epidemiology of shigellosis in Israel

  • D. COHEN (a1), R. BASSAL (a2), S. GOREN (a1), T. ROUACH (a3), D. TARAN (a4), B. SCHEMBERG (a4), N. PELED (a5), Y. KENESS (a6), S. KEN-DROR (a7), V. VASILEV (a8), I. NISSAN (a8), V. AGMON (a8) and T. SHOHAT (a1) (a2)...


We provide an update on the epidemiology of shigellosis in Israel using data generated by a sentinel laboratory-based surveillance network for the period 1998–2012. The average annual incidence of culture-proven shigellosis was 97/100 000. We estimated that each case of shigellosis accounted for 25 cases in the community indicating the high burden of disease. Orthodox Jewish communities, living in highly crowded conditions and with a high number of children aged <5 years were the epicentre of country-wide biennial propagated epidemics of S. sonnei shigellosis. S. flexneri was the leading Shigella serogroup in Israeli Arabs. S. flexneri 2a and S. flexneri 6 alternated as the most common serotypes. Both S. sonnei and S. flexneri isolates showed high rates of resistance to ampicillin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and very low rates of resistance to quinolones and third-generation cephalosporins. Shigellosis due to S. sonnei conferred 81% (95% confidence interval 69–89) protection against the homologous Shigella serotype when epidemic exposure re-occurred 2 years later. These data are of value in the process of Shigella vaccine development.

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Corresponding author

* Author for correspondence: Professor D. Cohen, School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel. (Email:


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