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August 26, 1939

BACILLARY DYSENTERY RESULTING FROM AN ACCIDENTAL LABORATORY INFECTION

JAMA. 1939;113(9):753-755. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.72800340001007
Abstract

Although dysentery due to Shigella dysenteriae (Shiga) has been diagnosed specifically since Shiga's1 identification of the etiologic agent in 1897 and the disease is encountered not infrequently the world over, we have been unable to find any record of an accidental laboratory infection caused by this organism. Lippincott2 recorded a mild case of Flexner's dysentery in a technician who had accidentally drawn a suspension of Shigella paradysenteriae (Flexner) into her mouth while doing an agglutination test on a recently isolated strain.

Shiga dysentery is ordinarily transmitted by means of contaminated food or water; it occurs sporadically or in small epidemics, as among army populations; the primary source of the bacteria is commonly a carrier or an active case. The case reported here is deemed of interest not simply because it resulted from a laboratory infection but particularly because of the unusual opportunity afforded us to work out the

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