Studies of Diarrheal Disease in Central America

XI. Intestinal Bacterial Flora in Malnourished Children with Shigellosis

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  • Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panamá (INCAP), Guatemala City, Guatemala


The numbers of Shigella in feces of children with clinical shigellosis (Sh. dysenteriae, Sh. flexneri, Sh. boydii, and Sh. sonnei) under both home and hospital conditions ranged from 105 to 108 per gram of wet feces. Children with Sh. sonnei dysentery had a longer convalescence, and feces consistently had greater numbers of Shigella than did patients with Sh. flexneri. Symptomless carriers excreted smaller numbers of Shigella, usually 102.

Among fecal bacteria associated with shigellosis, streptococci, lactobacilli, and bacteroids were generally most numerous. Candida and staphylococci ordinarily were few. The numbers of coliforms, enterococci, and Shigella fluctuated according to no fixed pattern. Coliform organisms were usually in inverse proportion to numbers of Shigella. Lactobacilli and streptococci were relatively rare during acute clinical diarrhea, especially when blood and mucus were present in stools.

Author Notes

Present address: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.