• View in gallery
    Figure 1.

    Variations in the frequency of resistance to five antimicrobials among strains of Shigella flexneri isolated in Colina, Santiago, Chile between 1997 and 2001. P = 0.0007 for cotrimoxazole period I versus period IV; the global P value was not significant. Amox/Clav. Ac. = amoxicillin/clavulanic acid.

  • View in gallery
    Figure 2.

    Variations in the frequency of resistance to five antimicrobials among strains of Shigella sonnei isolated in Colina, Santiago, Chile between 1997 and 2001. In period II, only two S. sonnei strains were isolated. P < 0.05 for period I versus period IV percentage of resistance for all antimicrobials. Amox/Clav. Ac. = amoxicillin/clavulanic acid.

  • 1

    Ferreccio C, Prado V, Ojeda A, Cayyazo M, Abrego P, Guers L, Levine MM, 1991. Epidemiologic patterns of acute diarrhea and endemic Shigella infections in children in a poor periurban setting in Santiago, Chile. Am J Epidemiol 134 :614–627.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2

    Houang ETS, Chu Y-W, Ng T-K, Cheng FB, 1998. Study of the relatedness of isolates Shigella flexneri and Shigella sonnei obtained in 1986 and 1987 and in 1994 and 1995 from Hong Kong. J Clin Microbiol 36 :2404–2407.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3

    Prado V, Pidal P, Arellano C, Lagos R, San Martín O, Levine M, 1998. Antimicrobial multiresistence of Shigella spp. strains in a semi rural community of north Santiago. Rev Méd Chile 126 :1464–1471.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4

    Bennish M, Wojtyniak B, 1991. Mortality due to shigellosis: community and hospital data. Rev Infect Dis 13 :S245–S251.

  • 5

    Suárez ME, Carvajal L, Culasso C, Paredes M, 2000. Resistencia de Shigella spp. a los antimicrobianos en Córdoba, Argentina, durante el período 1990–1997. Pan Am J Public Health 7 :113–117.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6

    Bennish ML, Salam MA, Hossain MA, Myaux J, Khan EH, Chakraborty J, Henry F, Ronsmans C, 1992. Antimicrobial resistance of Shigella isolated in Bangladesh, 1983–1990: increasing frequency of strains multiply resistant to ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and nalidixic acid. Clin Infect Dis 14 :1055–1060.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7

    National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards, 2003. Methods for Dilution Antimicrobial Susceptibility Tests for Bacteria that Grow Aerobically; Approved Standard. Sixth edition. Volume 23. Wayne, PA: National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards.

  • 8

    Delpiano L, Tejerina H, Cona E, Avilés C, 2001. Patrones de sensibilidad in vitro y comportamiento clínico de Shigella. Rev Chil Infect 18 :101–107.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9

    Pidal P, Prado V, Trucco O, Valdivieso F, Diaz MC, Ojeda A y grupo PRONARES,1999. Panorama de la resistencia antimicrobiana de Shigella sp. en 10 hospitales chilenos Proyecto PRONARES. Rev Panam Infect 1 :S18–S25.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10

    Boehme C, Rodríguez G, Illesca V, Reydet P, Serra J, 1992. Shigellosis infantil en la IX región: Aspectos clínicos, epidemiológicos y estudio de sensibilidad. Rev Méd Chile 120 :1261–1266.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11

    Haider K, Malek M, Albert M, 1993. Ocurrence of drug resistance in Shigella species isolated from patients with diarrhoea in Bangladesh. J Antimicrob Chemother 32 :509–511.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12

    Ashenazi S, May Zahav M, Sulkes J, Zilberberg R, Samra Z, 1995. Increasing antimicrobial resistance of Shigella isolates in Israel during the period 1984 to 1992. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 39 :645–648.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13

    Blake DP, Hillman K, Fenlon DR, Low JC, 2003. Transfer of antibiotic resistance between commensal and pathogens members of the Enterobacteriaceae under ileal conditions. J Appl Microbiol 95 :428–436.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14

    Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, South Africa (Zimbasa) Dysentery Study Group, 2002. Multicenter, randomized, double blind trial of short course versus standard course oral ciprofloxacin for Shigella dysenteriae type 1 in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J 21 :1136–1141.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15

    Leibovitz E, Janco J, Pigilansky L, Press J, Yagupsky P, Reinhart H, Yaniv I, Dagan R, 2000. Oral ciprofloxacin vs. intramuscular ceftriaxone as empiric treatment of acute invasive diarrhea in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J 19 :1060–1067.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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SURVEILLANCE FOR ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE PROFILES AMONG SHIGELLA SPECIES ISOLATED FROM A SEMIRURAL COMMUNITY IN THE NORTHERN ADMINISTRATIVE AREA OF SANTIAGO, CHILE

NOELIA FULLÁPrograma de Microbiología, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Centro para Vacunas en Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile; Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

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VALERIA PRADOPrograma de Microbiología, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Centro para Vacunas en Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile; Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

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CLAUDIA DURÁNPrograma de Microbiología, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Centro para Vacunas en Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile; Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

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ROSANNA LAGOSPrograma de Microbiología, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Centro para Vacunas en Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile; Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

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MYRON M. LEVINEPrograma de Microbiología, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Centro para Vacunas en Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile; Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

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Variations in antibiotic resistance patterns were studied among 178 Shigella strains isolated from 1997 to 2001 in children less than five years of age with acute diarrhea from Colina, a semi-rural community in Santiago, Chile. The minimal inhibitory concentration of several commonly used antibiotics was determined by the agar dilution method. Shigella strains showed high rates of resistance to ampicillin (82%), cotrimoxazole (65%), tetracycline (53%), and chloramphenicol (49%). Furthermore, 51% of the strains showed resistance patterns to multiple antibiotics. Only 9% of the strains were resistant to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and no resistance was observed to ciprofloxacin, nalidixic acid, or cefotaxime. Continuous monitoring of resistance patterns in Shigella is essential for establishing and updating guidelines for antibiotic treatment in shigellosis.

INTRODUCTION

Shigella is recognized by the World Health Organization as a major global public health problem. It is one of the principal causes of diarrhea in pediatric patients in developing countries, but remains as an occasional cause of diarrhea among children in industrialized countries, particularly in settings such as day care. As with most enteric infections, the risk of contracting shigellosis is associated with deficiencies in environmental sanitation and personal hygiene.14 In Chile, Shigella is responsible for 4–12% of the cases of acute diarrhea and 22–30% of the cases of bloody diarrhea in children less than five years of age.1,3

Shigellosis is one of the few enteric infections for which antimicrobials are prescribed, with both clinical and epidemiologic benefits, but increasing resistance has been observed.36

Since 1995, we have maintained epidemiologic and bacteriologic surveillance for Shigella infections in Colina, a location in the outskirts of the Northern Administrative Area of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Chile. This location has a population of 77,647 inhabitants, but socioeconomic indicators and sanitary conditions are lower than the national mean. Previously, Prado and others examined Shigella strains isolated from Colina during the period 1995–1997 and reported high and increasing levels of resistance, as well as patterns of multi-resistance to antibiotics commonly used for treating shigellosis in Colina.3

In this study, we extended our previous surveillance studies by examining antibiotic resistance patterns among Shigella strains isolated from 1997 to 2001 from children less than five years of age with acute diarrhea.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Surveillance study period.

Shigellosis is highly seasonal in Santiago, predominating during the warm months. Thus, the surveillance study for each year was initiated on November 1 and terminated on April 30 to coincide with this period. During the four successive surveillance seasons, a stool specimen from each diarrheal consultation at the two outpatient clinics in Colina was collected with a cotton swab, transported to the laboratory in buffer glycerol phosphate medium, and tested using standard procedures for the isolation of Shigella. The same procedures were used through all four study periods. Strains were stored in trypticase soy broth with 15% glycerol at −80°C. The four surveillance periods used in this study were period I: November 1997 to May 1998; period II: November 1998 to May 1999; period III: November 1999 to May 2000; and period IV: November 2000 to May 2001.

The surveillance study protocol was included within a more comprehensive protocol that was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Maryland and the Ethics Committee of the Servicio de Salud Metropolitano Norte (SSMN) of the metropolitan region of Santiago. Stool samples were obtained from patients as a routine procedure of standard care in the Consultorio Colina. Bacterial strains were archived and tested in an anonymous manner, and authorization for susceptibility testing was obtained from the Ethics Committee of the SSMN.

In vitro susceptibility to antibiotics.

The minimal inhibitory concentrations of antimicrobials were determined by the agar dilution method according to the 2003 recommendations of the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards.7 The antibiotics used included ampicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, cotrimoxazole, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, nalidixic acid, and cefotaxime. Each antimicrobial was serially diluted and tested at the following ranges of concentrations: 1.0–64 μg/mL for ampicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, chloramphenicol and nalidixic acid; 0.25–4.75 to 16–304 μg/mL for cotrimoxazole; 0.03–64 μg/mL for cefotaxime; 0.5–32 μg/mL for tetracycline; and 0.004–8.0 μg/mL for ciprofloxacin. Escherichia coli strain ATCC 25922 (American Type Culture Collection, Manassas, VA) was used as a control.

RESULTS

In the four surveillance seasons from 1997 to 2001, 4,080 episodes of acute diarrhea among children less than five years of age were observed at the health centers in Colina. Shigella was isolated from 178 of these diarrhea episodes and the distribution by species is shown in Table 1.

Susceptibility patterns of S. flexneri strains.

The 77 strains of S. flexneri isolated in the four surveillance periods showed a high proportion of resistant strains to tetracycline (78%), ampicillin (74%), cotrimoxazole (71%), and chloramphenicol (69%), and a low proportion of resistant strains to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (12%). All S. flexneri strains were susceptible to ciprofloxacin, nalidixic acid, and cefotaxime. Over the study period, S. flexneri exhibited some variations in the resistance patterns. A significant decrease in resistance to ampicillin and tetracycline (P < 0.05) in period III with reemergence of high levels of resistance in period IV, and an increase in resistance to cotrimoxazole in period IV with respect to previous Shigella seasons were observed (Figure 1).

Susceptibility patterns of S. sonnei strains.

Of the 101 strains of S. sonnei isolated during the study period, 88% were resistant to ampicillin, 60% to cotrimoxazole, 36% to tetracycline, 34% to chloramphenicol, and 7% to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid. All S. sonnei strains were susceptible to ciprofloxacin, nalidixic acid, and cefotaxime. There were annual variations in antimicrobial resistance of S. sonnei, showing significant decreases in resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, and a significant increase in resistance to cotrimoxazole in periods III and IV (P < 0.05) (Figure 2).

Overall, we observed that 155 (87%) strains were resistant to one or more antibiotic distributed into 13 distinct patterns (Table 2). Of these, 91 strains (51%) exhibited resistance to three or more antibiotics (multi-resistance). The most frequent multi-resistance pattern observed among S. flexneri strains was the combined resistance to ampicillin, cotrimoxazole, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline, which was seen in 35 (53.8%) strains, followed by resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol and tetracycline, which was observed in 9 strains (13.8%). The most frequent multi-resistance pattern among S. sonnei strains was to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline (23.3%).

A comparison of resistance levels observed in this study with those previously reported for the 1995–1997 period showed a significant increase in resistance to ampicillin and cotrimoxazole and a decrease in resistance to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (P < 0.05).

DISCUSSION

The emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance among Shigella strains is an increasing global health problem that is complicating the therapeutic management of severe shigellosis cases. Studies from many regions of Chile have already reported an increase in isolation of Shigella that are resistant or exhibiting multi-resistance to clinically important and commonly used antibiotics.810 Our findings from the semirural study area of Colina, are consistent with those reports in that we also observed an alarmingly high prevalence of Shigella that are resistant to antibiotics frequently used for treating shigellosis by clinicians in Santiago.

The changes in the resistance profiles observed among S. sonnei strains from Colina cannot be explained, to our knowledge, by changes in practice of antibiotic usage. A plausible explanation may be that there are selective pressures that are causing the disappearance and reemergence of specific clones, as shown by the virtual absence of S. sonnei during period II of the study, followed by resurgence during periods III and IV (Table 1). Molecular typing would help clarify this issue.

Consistent with other studies, our results confirmed the high prevalence of resistance to tetracycline and ampicillin in S. flexneri, despite the fact that ampicillin has not been used during the past 18 years in Chile for treatment of suspected cases of shigellosis and that tetracycline is not used in children.11,12 The persistence of ampicillin resistance may be explained by the wide spread use of β-lactams for diverse infections in Chilean children, causing selection of resistant strains and propagation of β-lactamase-resistant genes in the normal intestinal flora. It has been reported that antimicrobial resistance genes can be readily transmitted between commensal Enterobacteriaceae and enteropathogens in vivo and in vitro.13

It is also noteworthy that none of the Shigella strains were resistant to nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin. Several studies show that ciprofloxacin offers advantages in the treatment of shigellosis, reaching high concentrations in serum and feces. Short courses of ciprofloxacin therapy in pediatric patients with specific enteric infections is becoming a common practice among pediatricians worldwide.14,15 Other antibiotics that remain highly active against Shigella are the third-generation cephalosporins. However, these are generally reserved for severe systemic infections such as bacterial meningitis or for clinically severe shigellosis caused by multi-resistant strains. We discourage widespread use of cephalosporins for treating all Shigella infections to avoid selection of resistant strains.

In conclusion, antimicrobial resistance patterns of Shigella observed in this study confirm reports from other countries, showing widespread resistance of Shigella to multiple, clinically relevant antimicrobials. For areas where shigellosis is endemic, recommendations on antibiotic selection must be periodically updated depending on surveillance of antimicrobial resistance.

Table 1

Isolation of Shigella flexneri and S. sonnei in the community of Colina between 1997 and 2001

Frequency of isolation
S. flexneri S. sonnei Total
Period of study* No. of episodes No. of strains No. of strains No. %
* Period I = November 1997 to May 1998; Period II = November 1998 to May 1999; Period III = November 1999 to May 2000; Period IV = November 2000 to May 2001.
I 916 12 34 46 5.0
II 629 10 2 12 1.9
III 697 18 21 39 5.6
IV 1,838 37 44 81 4.4
Total 4,080 77 101 178 4.4
Table 2

Distribution of resistance patterns among 65 Shigella flexneri and 90 S. sonnei isolated in Colina between 1997 and 2001

No. of strains
Resistance patterns* S. flexneri S. sonnei Shigella spp.
* AM = ampicillin; STX = cotrimoxazole; AMC = amoxicillin/clavulanic acid; TET = tetracycline; CL = chloramphenicol.
AM 0 4 4
STX 3 1 4
AM, AMC 0 1 1
AM, STX 2 48 50
AM, TET 1 0 1
STX, TET 4 0 4
AM, STX, TET 1 2 3
AM, CL, TET 9 21 30
AM, AMC, STX 1 0 1
STX, CL, TET 1 0 1
AM, AMC, CL, TET 0 4 4
AM, STX, CL, TET 35 6 41
AM, STX, AMC, TET, CL 8 3 11
Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Variations in the frequency of resistance to five antimicrobials among strains of Shigella flexneri isolated in Colina, Santiago, Chile between 1997 and 2001. P = 0.0007 for cotrimoxazole period I versus period IV; the global P value was not significant. Amox/Clav. Ac. = amoxicillin/clavulanic acid.

Citation: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Am J Trop Med Hyg 72, 6; 10.4269/ajtmh.2005.72.851

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Variations in the frequency of resistance to five antimicrobials among strains of Shigella sonnei isolated in Colina, Santiago, Chile between 1997 and 2001. In period II, only two S. sonnei strains were isolated. P < 0.05 for period I versus period IV percentage of resistance for all antimicrobials. Amox/Clav. Ac. = amoxicillin/clavulanic acid.

Citation: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Am J Trop Med Hyg 72, 6; 10.4269/ajtmh.2005.72.851

Authors’ addresses: Noelia Fullá, Valeria Prado, and Claudia Durán, Programa de Microbiología, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Correo 7, Clasificador 7, Santiago, Chile, Telephone: 56-2-678 6641, Fax: 56-2-735 5855, E-mails: promicro@med.uchile.cl and vprado@med.uchile.cl. Rosanna Lagos, Centro para Vacunas en Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile, Telephone: 56-2-737 5022, Fax: 56-2-777 5766, E-mail: rlagos@adsl.tie.cl. Myron M. Levine, Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, Telephone: 410-706-7588, Fax: 410-706-6205, E-mail: Mlevine@medicine.umaryland.edu.

Acknowledgments: We are indebted to Peter Feng for his careful review of the manuscript and editorial suggestions.

Financial support: This study was supported by a research grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland.

REFERENCES

  • 1

    Ferreccio C, Prado V, Ojeda A, Cayyazo M, Abrego P, Guers L, Levine MM, 1991. Epidemiologic patterns of acute diarrhea and endemic Shigella infections in children in a poor periurban setting in Santiago, Chile. Am J Epidemiol 134 :614–627.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2

    Houang ETS, Chu Y-W, Ng T-K, Cheng FB, 1998. Study of the relatedness of isolates Shigella flexneri and Shigella sonnei obtained in 1986 and 1987 and in 1994 and 1995 from Hong Kong. J Clin Microbiol 36 :2404–2407.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3

    Prado V, Pidal P, Arellano C, Lagos R, San Martín O, Levine M, 1998. Antimicrobial multiresistence of Shigella spp. strains in a semi rural community of north Santiago. Rev Méd Chile 126 :1464–1471.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4

    Bennish M, Wojtyniak B, 1991. Mortality due to shigellosis: community and hospital data. Rev Infect Dis 13 :S245–S251.

  • 5

    Suárez ME, Carvajal L, Culasso C, Paredes M, 2000. Resistencia de Shigella spp. a los antimicrobianos en Córdoba, Argentina, durante el período 1990–1997. Pan Am J Public Health 7 :113–117.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6

    Bennish ML, Salam MA, Hossain MA, Myaux J, Khan EH, Chakraborty J, Henry F, Ronsmans C, 1992. Antimicrobial resistance of Shigella isolated in Bangladesh, 1983–1990: increasing frequency of strains multiply resistant to ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and nalidixic acid. Clin Infect Dis 14 :1055–1060.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7

    National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards, 2003. Methods for Dilution Antimicrobial Susceptibility Tests for Bacteria that Grow Aerobically; Approved Standard. Sixth edition. Volume 23. Wayne, PA: National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards.

  • 8

    Delpiano L, Tejerina H, Cona E, Avilés C, 2001. Patrones de sensibilidad in vitro y comportamiento clínico de Shigella. Rev Chil Infect 18 :101–107.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9

    Pidal P, Prado V, Trucco O, Valdivieso F, Diaz MC, Ojeda A y grupo PRONARES,1999. Panorama de la resistencia antimicrobiana de Shigella sp. en 10 hospitales chilenos Proyecto PRONARES. Rev Panam Infect 1 :S18–S25.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10

    Boehme C, Rodríguez G, Illesca V, Reydet P, Serra J, 1992. Shigellosis infantil en la IX región: Aspectos clínicos, epidemiológicos y estudio de sensibilidad. Rev Méd Chile 120 :1261–1266.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11

    Haider K, Malek M, Albert M, 1993. Ocurrence of drug resistance in Shigella species isolated from patients with diarrhoea in Bangladesh. J Antimicrob Chemother 32 :509–511.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12

    Ashenazi S, May Zahav M, Sulkes J, Zilberberg R, Samra Z, 1995. Increasing antimicrobial resistance of Shigella isolates in Israel during the period 1984 to 1992. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 39 :645–648.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13

    Blake DP, Hillman K, Fenlon DR, Low JC, 2003. Transfer of antibiotic resistance between commensal and pathogens members of the Enterobacteriaceae under ileal conditions. J Appl Microbiol 95 :428–436.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14

    Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, South Africa (Zimbasa) Dysentery Study Group, 2002. Multicenter, randomized, double blind trial of short course versus standard course oral ciprofloxacin for Shigella dysenteriae type 1 in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J 21 :1136–1141.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15

    Leibovitz E, Janco J, Pigilansky L, Press J, Yagupsky P, Reinhart H, Yaniv I, Dagan R, 2000. Oral ciprofloxacin vs. intramuscular ceftriaxone as empiric treatment of acute invasive diarrhea in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J 19 :1060–1067.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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