1998 - Bloody diarrhoea in Cameroon
29 April 1998
Disease Outbreak Reported
Shigella dysenteriae type 1 (Sd1) has been confirmed as the organism responsible for the outbreak of bloody diarrhoea which started in Cameroon in November 1997. Since then 237 cases with 60 deaths have been reported. A team from the Ministry of Health has assessed the situation in collaboration with WHO. Stool samples were collected and analyzed at the Pasteur Institutes in Cameroon and Bangui, Central African Republic. Blood samples were negative in tests for haemorrhagic fevers, including Ebola haemorrhagic fever. Antibiotic susceptibility testing showed the Sd1 strains were sensitive to quinolones and cephalosporines but resistant to antibiotics commonly recommended for treatment of shigella. Shigella dysenteriae type 1, also known as Shiga bacillus, is the most virulent of the four serogroups of Shigella and the only cause of epidemic dysentery. In Africa epidemic dysentery due to Sd1 appeared in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire) in 1979 and has regularly affected more than 15 countries in the continent.