Outbreak report Open Access


Even though shigellosis in Spain is rare, an indigenous outbreak is occasionally detected. We describe an outbreak in a school in Madrid caused by person-to-person transmission of Shigella sonnei. After the detection of Shigella sonnei in a stool sample from a 3 year old girl, an investigation at her school was initiated. Questionnaires were distributed to the parents of 520 pupils attending the school. A case was defined as a school case if it was the first case in a child’s household, and as a household case if other members of the household had fallen ill first. We identified 88 cases (60 pupils and 28 of their family members). The attack rate (AR) was 12% in the school and 32% in the families. There was a significant association between higher AR and lower age. The outbreak lasted for two months. The length and the shape of the epidemic curve of the 60 cases in pupils suggests person-to-person transmission. Shigella sonnei isolated from 5 different cases were typed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and was found to be an identical strain. The prolonged duration of the outbreak was probably due to delayed detection, and stopped as soon as control measures were introduced.


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