, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 231-236,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

A 9-year study of shigellosis in Northeast Malaysia: Antimicrobial susceptibility and shifting species dominance



In Malaysia, Shigella spp. is the third most common bacterial agent responsible for childhood diarrhoea. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of Shigella spp. isolated from patients admitted to the Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia from January 2001 to December 2009.

Subjects and methods

A hospital-based retrospective study was used. Stool samples from patients were cultured using a standard culture method. Shigella spp. isolates were identified by biochemical and serological methods, and the antimicrobial susceptibility pattern was evaluated using the Kirby-Bauer disc-diffusion method.


A total of 138 Shigella spp. were isolated from a total of 14,830 routine stool specimens, yielding an isolation rate of 0.93% that corresponded to 9.99% of the 1,381 bacterial pathogens isolated. Of these isolates, S. sonnei was the predominant species, followed by S. flexneri and S. boydii. Seasonal variation was noticed, and no significant differences were detected in the demographic data for S. flexneri and S. sonnei. The susceptibility of all isolated Shigella strains was tested against seven antibiotics. Ceftriaxone (99.1%), ciprofloxacin (98.4%), and nalidixic acid (93.8%) were effective against the Shigella strains, whereas tetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole exhibited high frequencies of resistance (58.4% and 53.8%, respectively).


This study is important for public health education aimed at reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with Shigella spp. infection. Our results also will be helpful for paediatricians and microbiologists in the selection of appropriate antibiotics for the management of diarrhoea.

Kirnpal-Kaur Banga Singh and Suvash Chandra Ojha contributed equally to this work.