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Shigella is common in symptomatic and asymptomatic men who have sex with men visiting a sexual health clinic in Amsterdam
  1. Joyce F. Braam1,
  2. Sylvia M. Bruisten1,2,
  3. Mariska Hoogeland1,
  4. Henry J.C. de Vries1,3,
  5. Maarten F. Schim van der Loeff1,4,
  6. Alje P. van Dam1,2
  1. 1Department of Infectious Diseases, Public Health Service of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Medical Microbiology, Amsterdam UMC Locatie AMC, Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Dermatology, Amsterdam UMC Locatie AMC, Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Internal Medicine, Amsterdam UMC Locatie AMC, Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Joyce F. Braam, Department of Infectious Diseases, Public Health Service of Amsterdam, 1018 WT Amsterdam, The Netherlands; jbraam{at}ggd.amsterdam.nl

Abstract

Introduction Shigellosis is a reportable infectious disease. It can present as a severe bloody diarrhoea but is often asymptomatic. Shigella can be sexually transmissible. We performed a study among symptomatic and asymptomatic men who have sex with men (MSM) to assess the prevalence of Shigella, Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Methods From March to June 2020, MSM attending the Amsterdam centre for sexual health were consecutively included. Predefined minimal numbers of inclusion of 150, 100 and 50 were determined, respectively, for MSM who reported no diarrhoea, diarrhoea during last month or diarrhoea on the day of visit to clinic. Anal samples were tested for the presence of Shigella, Salmonella and Campylobacter. During the same period, the frequency of these bacteria was assessed in routinely tested samples requested by general physicians or nursing home physicians. Characteristics of included MSM were compared between the men with different diarrhoea anamnesis, and the prevalence of shigellosis was estimated in each group.

Results We included 212 MSM without diarrhoea, 109 MSM who recently had diarrhoea and 68 MSM who reported diarrhoea on the day of clinic visit. Thirteen (3.3%, 95% CI 1.7% to 5.6%) MSM were infected with Shigella, none with Salmonella and 7 (1.8%, 95% CI 0.7% to 3.7%) with Campylobacter. Shigella prevalence was 2.8% (95% CI 1.0% to 6.1%) in asymptomatic men, 3.7% (95% CI 1.0% to 9.1%) in men who recently had diarrhoea and 4.4% (95% CI 0.9% to 12.4%) in men with current diarrhoea (p=0.799). Shigella was more frequently found in MSM who had used pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the preceding 3 months (10/151), compared with those not having used PrEP (2/146) or being HIV positive (1/75) (p=0.038). Shigella was significantly more often detected among MSM compared with routinely obtained faecal samples being 11/770 (1.4%) (p=0.031).

Conclusion Shigella infections are relatively common in both symptomatic and asymptomatic MSM. Future studies should focus on the risk of onward transmission via asymptomatic persons.

Samenvatting

Introductie

Shigellose is een meldingsplichtige infectieziekte. Het kan zich presenteren als een ernstige bloederige diarree, maar is vaak asymptomatisch. Shigella kan seksueel overdraagbaar zijn. We hebben een onderzoek uitgevoerd onder symptomatische en asymptomatische mannen die seks hebben met mannen (MSM) om de prevalentie van Shigella, Salmonella en Campylobacter te bepalen.

Methoden

Van maart tot juni 2020 werden achtereenvolgens MSM van het Amsterdamse centrum voor seksuele gezondheid opgenomen. Vooraf gedefinieerde minimale aantallen van inclusie van respectievelijk 150, 100 en 50 waren bepaald voor MSM die geen diarree, diarree in de afgelopen maand of diarree op de dag van bezoek aan de kliniek meldden. Anale monsters werden getest op de aanwezigheid van Shigella, Salmonella en Campylobacter. In dezelfde periode werd de frequentie van deze bacteriën bepaald in routinematig geteste monsters aangevraagd door huisartsen of verpleeghuisartsen. Kenmerken van geïncludeerde MSM werden vergeleken tussen mannen met verschillende diarree anamnese, en de prevalentie van shigellose werd in elke groep geschat.

Resultaten

We includeerden 212 MSM zonder diarree, 109 MSM die onlangs diarree hadden en 68 MSM die diarree meldden op de dag van het bezoek aan de kliniek. Dertien (3,3%, 95% CI 1,7-5,6%) MSM waren geïnfecteerd met Shigella, geen enkele met Salmonella, en 7 (1,8%, 95% CI 0,7-3,7%) met Campylobacter. De prevalentie van Shigella was 2,8% (95%CI 1,0-6,1%) bij asymptomatische mannen, 3,7% (95%CI 1,0-9,1%) bij mannen die recent diarree hadden en 4,4% (95%CI 0,9-12,4%) bij mannen met huidige diarree (P=0,799). Shigella werd vaker gevonden bij MSM die in de voorgaande drie maanden (10/151) PrEP hadden gebruikt dan bij mensen die geen PrEP hadden gebruikt (2/146) of hiv-positief waren (1/75) (p=0,038). Shigella werd significant vaker gedetecteerd bij MSM in vergelijking met routinematig verkregen fecale monsters, namelijk 11/770 (1,4%) (p=0,031).

Conclusie

Shigella infecties komen relatief vaak voor bij zowel symptomatische als asymptomatische MSM. Toekomstige studies moeten zich richten op het risico van verdere overdracht via asymptomatische personen.

  • homosexuality
  • male
  • homosexuality
  • male
  • bacterial infections
  • diagnosis

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Not applicable.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Not applicable.

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Footnotes

  • Handling editor Tristan J Barber

  • Twitter @henryjdevries

  • Contributors SMB, HJCdV, MSvdL and AvD contributed to the design and implementation of the research; MH performed the measurements; JB performed the analysis of the results with input from MSvdL and AvD; and JB wrote the paper with input from all authors; AvD acted as guarantor.

  • Funding Funding was provided by the Public Health Laboratory of GGD Amsterdam.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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