Shigella is becoming an increasing public health problem due to development of multiple antimicrobial resistance, frequently resulting in treatment failure. A systematic review was conducted based on a literature search of computerised databases. Random or fixed-effects models were used, based on the P-value considering the possibility of heterogeneity between studies, for meta-analysis. Statistical analyses were performed using STATA 10.0. In the area of Asia-Africa, resistance rates to nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin were 33.6% [95% confidence interval (CI) 21.8-46.6%] and 5.0% (95% CI 2.8-7.8%), respectively, 10.5 and 16.7 times those of Europe-America. Moreover, resistance to nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin in Asia-Africa progressively increased each year, reaching 64.5% (95% CI 13.8-99.3%) and 29.1% (95% CI 0.9-74.8%), respectively, in 2007-2009, whilst isolates in Europe-America remained at low levels of resistance (<5.0% and <1.0%, respectively). All Shigella flexneri strains showed higher resistance than Shigella sonnei in Europe-America: overall, 3.5% (95% CI 1.4-6.4%) vs. 2.6% (95% CI 1.0-5.0%) resistant to nalidixic acid and 1.0% (95% CI 0.3-2.2%) vs. 0.1% (95% CI 0.0-0.3%) resistant to ciprofloxacin. In Asia-Africa, a similar trend was found for ciprofloxacin [3.0% (95% CI 1.4-5.3%) vs. 0.5% (95% CI 0.2-0.8%)], whereas the trend was reversed for nalidixic acid [32.6% (95% CI 14.5-53.9%) vs. 44.3% (95% CI 26.9-62.5%). In conclusion, quinolone resistance in Shigella has increased at an alarming speed, reinforcing the importance of continuous monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in Shigella.
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