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October 1971

Shiga Bacillus Dysentery Acquired in Nicaragua

Author Affiliations

Miami, Fla; Atlanta; Miami, Fla

From the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami School of Medicine and the Jackson Memorial Hospital (Drs. Counts and Ehrenkranz), the Dade County Department of Public Health, Miami, Fla (Dr. Nitzkin), and the Epidemiology Program, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta (Dr. Hennekens).

Arch Intern Med. 1971;128(4):582-584. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310220090011

At present there is a widespread epidemic of dysentery caused by Shigella dysenteriae, type 1, (the Shiga bacillus), in Central America.1 Gangarosa et al estimate some 112,000 cases with 8,300 deaths occurred in Guatemala in the first ten months of 1969. The severity of this outbreak is indicated by the mortality of 17 deaths per 10,000 persons, in contrast to a previous rate of 3.9.2

In the past 18 months there has been a substantial increase in the number of Shiga bacillus strains from persons who had been recent visitors to Mexico or Central America.3 In a recent 11-week period, two adults with shigellosis acquired in Nicaragua were seen in Miami, Fla. They presented with an illness resembling ulcerative colitis. Since infection with Shiga bacillus can mimic severe noninfectious enteric diseases, awareness of the seriousness of infection with this particular strain of Shigella is important to insure

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