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Genetic Characterization of Shigella flexneri Isolates in Guizhou Province, China
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    Shigella flexneri is one of the major etiologic causes of shigellosis in Guizhou Province, China. However, the genetic characteristics of circulating isolates are unknown. Phenotypic and molecular profiles of 60 S. flexneri isolates recovered in Guizhou between 1972 to 1982 and 2008 to 2010 were determined. Nine serotypes (1a, 2a, 3a, 1b, 2b, X, Y, 4av and Yv) were identified. Multi-locus sequence typing differentiated the isolates into 20 sequence types (STs); 18 were novel. Four STs, ST 129, ST 100, ST 126 and ST 18, were most abundant, accounting for 65% of the isolates. Thirty-nine NotI-pulsed field gel electrophoresis patterns (pulsotypes, PTs) were observed; eight PTs were represented by more than one isolate with six isolates sharing the PT 13 profile. Multi-locus variable-nucleotide tandem-repeat analysis recognized 44 different types (MTs); seven MTs were represented by more than one isolate and MT 1 was most commonly encountered. Correlation between genetic relationships and serotypes was observed among the isolates studied; the majority of isolates belonging to the same serotype from different years clustered together based on the molecular data. These clustered isolates were also from similar geographical origins. These results enhance our understanding of genetic relationships between S. flexneri in Guizhou Province and can be used to help understand the changing etiology of shigellosis in China.