Research Letters

Characterisation of Shigella species isolated from river catchments in the North West province of South Africa

Constance Wose Kinge, Moses Mbewe
South African Journal of Science | Vol 106, No 11/12 | a211 | DOI: | © 2010 Constance Wose Kinge, Moses Mbewe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 April 2010 | Published: 11 November 2010

About the author(s)

Constance Wose Kinge, North-West University, South Africa
Moses Mbewe, North-West University, South Africa


The occurrence and distribution of Shigella species in water from the five river catchments in the North West province of South Africa were investigated. Shigella is a Gram-negative, non-motile, facultative anaerobic bacillus that causes shigellosis, an important cause of morbidity and mortality in high-risk populations (such as children, the elderly and immuno-compromised individuals) that depend on river water. A total of 54 water samples collected in winter (April 2007 to July 2007) and summer (December 2007 to March 2008) were cultured on Salmonella-Shigella agar by the spread-plate method. Suspected Shigella isolates obtained were characterised by primary biochemical (Triple Sugar Iron agar and agglutination) and molecular (polymerase chain reactions, PCR) tests. Amplification of the invasion plasmid gene (ipaH) by PCR was done to confirm the presence of Shigella spp. in water. In total, 214 Shigella boydii, 15 Shigella dysenteriae, 11 Shigella flexneri and 2 Shigella sonnei were confirmed by serotyping in both winter and summer samples. The ipaH gene (606 bp) was present in 176 and 49 of the winter and summer isolates, respectively. The presence of Shigella spp. in water was confirmed with over 90% specificity. The need for more effective management of these river catchments and the provision of potable water and sanitation facilities is needed to minimise the occurrence and transmission of water-borne diseases caused by these and other pathogenic bacteria.


polymerase chain reaction; ipaH gene; river catchments; serotyping; Shigella species


Total abstract views: 1499
Total article views: 2796

Reader Comments

Before posting a comment, read our privacy policy.

Post a comment (login required)


Crossref Citations

1. Competitive Survival of Escherichia coli, Vibrio cholerae, Salmonella typhimurium and Shigella dysenteriae in Riverbed Sediments
Akebe Luther King Abia, Eunice Ubomba-Jaswa, Maggy Ndombo Benteke Momba
Microbial Ecology  vol: 72  issue: 4  first page: 881  year: 2016  
doi: 10.1007/s00248-016-0784-y