The evolution and international spread of extensively drug resistant Shigella sonnei

Lewis C.E. Mason, David R. Greig, Lauren A. Cowley, Sally R. Partridge, Elena Martinez, Grace A. Blackwell, Charlotte E. Chong, P. Malaka De Silva, Rebecca J. Bengtsson, Jenny L. Draper, Andrew N. Ginn, Indy Sandaradura, Eby M. Sim, Jonathan R. Iredell, Vitali Sintchenko, Danielle J. Ingle, Benjamin P. Howden, Sophie Lefèvre, Elisabeth Njampeko, François Xavier WeillPieter Jan Ceyssens, Claire Jenkins, Kate S. Baker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Shigella sonnei causes shigellosis, a severe gastrointestinal illness that is sexually transmissible among men who have sex with men (MSM). Multidrug resistance in S. sonnei is common including against World Health Organisation recommended treatment options, azithromycin, and ciprofloxacin. Recently, an MSM-associated outbreak of extended-spectrum β-lactamase producing, extensively drug resistant S. sonnei was reported in the United Kingdom. Here, we aimed to identify the genetic basis, evolutionary history, and international dissemination of the outbreak strain. Our genomic epidemiological analyses of 3,304 isolates from the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, France, and the United States of America revealed an internationally connected outbreak with a most recent common ancestor in 2018 carrying a low-fitness cost resistance plasmid, previously observed in travel associated sublineages of S. flexneri. Our results highlight the persistent threat of horizontally transmitted antimicrobial resistance and the value of continuing to work towards early and open international sharing of genomic surveillance data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1983
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'The evolution and international spread of extensively drug resistant Shigella sonnei'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this