Antimicrobial resistance profiles of shigella dysenteriae isolated from travellers returning to the UK, 2004-2017

Lauren M. Terry, Clare Barker, Martin Day, David Greig, Tim Dallman, Claire Jenkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles of 754 strains of Shigella dysenteriae isolated between 2004 and 2017 from UK travellers reporting symptoms of gastrointestinal (GI) disease were reviewed to look for evidence of emerging AMR associated with travellers’ diarrhoea. Methodology. A travel history was provided for 72.7% (548/754) of cases, of which 90.9% (498/548) reported travel outside the UK within 7 days of onset of symptoms, and 9.1% (50/498) reported no travel in that time frame. During the course of this study, whole genome sequencing (WGS) was implemented for GI disease surveillance, and we compared phenotypic AMR profiles with those derived from WGS data (n=133). Results/Key findings. The phenotypic and genotypic AMR results correlated well, with 90.1% (121/133) isolates having concordant results to 10 classes of antimicrobials. Resistance to the first-line drugs commonly used in the treatment of shigellosis was observed throughout the study (ampicillin, 54.1%; chloramphenicol, 33.7 %; sulphonamides, 76.0 %; trimethoprim, 80.0%). Between 2004 and 2017, resistance to all classes of antimicrobials (except the phenicols) increased. The proportion of isolates exhibiting reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin increased from 3.8% in 2004 to 75.7% in 2017, and this was significantly associated with cases reporting travel to Asia compared to Africa (P<0.001). Of the 201 sequenced isolates, 3.0% (20/201) had either blaCTX-M-15 or blaCMY-4. Conclusions. Increasing MDR, along with resistance to the fluroquinolones and the third generation cephalosporins, in Shigella dysenteriae causing travellers’ diarrhoea provides further evidence for the need to regulatethe use of antimicrobial agents and continuous monitoring of emerging AMR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000779
Pages (from-to)1022-1030
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Gastrointestinal Infections and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health or Public Health England.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors.


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Shigella dysenteriae
  • Travellers’ diarrhoea
  • Whole genome sequencing


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