Although the incidence of bacillary dysentery in China has been declining progressively, a considerable disease burden still exists. Few studies have analyzed bacillary dysentery across China and knowledge gaps still exist in the aspects of geographic distribution and ecological drivers, seasonality and its association with meteorological factors, urban-rural disparity, prevalence and distribution of Shigella species. Here, we performed nationwide analyses to fill the above gaps. Geographically, we found that incidence increased along an east-west gradient which was inversely related to the economic conditions of China. Two large endemically high-risk regions in western China and their ecological drivers were identified for the first time. We characterized seasonality of bacillary dysentery incidence and assessed its association with meteorological factors, and saw that it exhibits north-south differences in peak duration, relative amplitude and key meteorological factors. Urban and rural incidences among China's cities were compared, and disparity associated with urbanization level was invariant in most cities. Balanced decrease of urban and rural incidence was observed for all provinces except Hunan. S. flexneri and S. sonnei were identified as major causative species. Increasing prevalence of S. sonnei and geographic distribution of Shigella species were associated with economic status. Findings and inferences from this study draw broader pictures of bacillary dysentery in mainland China and could provide useful information for better interventions and public health planning.
Keywords: Shigella species; bacillary dysentery; ecological drivers; geographic and temporal patterns; high-risk regions; meteorological factors; seasonality; urban and rural disparities.