Immunological approaches have been considered as an alternative therapeutic option for the treatment of enteric infections over the past few years. Hyperimmune bovine colostrum (HBC) is a potentially innovative immunological option in the management of shigellosis together with traditional antibiotic therapy. Children aged 1-12 y with a history of bloody mucoid diarrhoea of less than 5 d duration were enrolled after their stool specimen was found to be positive for Shigella dysenteriae type I antigen by a rapid diagnostic fluorescent antibody staining test. They were randomized to receive either HBC containing very high titres of antibody against S. dysenteriae type I antigen or bovine colostrum (BC) without any antibody. The study group received 100 ml of HBC three times a day orally for 3 d and control group received BC. Children also received pivmecillinam in a dose of 50 mg kg(-1) d(-1) in four divided doses orally for 5 d. Admission characteristics of the 34 children in the HBC group and 35 in the BC group were comparable. No significant differences were observed in duration of diarrhoea, fever, anorexia, abdominal pain, tenesmus, stool frequency or visible blood in the stool between the groups. Two (6%) children in the study and five (14%) in the control group remained stool culture positive for S. dysenteriae type 1, even after 5 d of sensitive antimicrobial therapy.
Conclusion: The results indicate that HBC as an adjuvant is unable to show any beneficial effect in reducing the stool frequency, duration or severity of childhood shigellosis due to S. dysenteriae type I infection.