A large outbreak of shigellosis commencing in an internally displaced population, Papua New Guinea, 2013

Edwin Benny, Kelly Mesere, Boris Igor Pavlin, Logan Yakam, Rebecca Ford, Mition Yoannes, Debbie Kisa, Mohammad Y. Abdad, Lincoln Menda, Andrew R. Greenhill, Paul F Horwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate a large outbreak of shigellosis in Papua New Guinea that began in a camp for internally displaced persons before spreading throughout the general community.

METHODS: Outbreak mitigation strategies were implemented in the affected area to curtail the spread of the disease. Data were collected from the surveillance system and analysed by time, place and person. Rectal swab samples were tested by standard culture methods and real-time polymerase chain reaction to determine the etiology of the outbreak.

RESULTS: Laboratory analysis at two independent institutions established that the outbreak was caused by Shigella sp., with one strain further characterized as Shigella flexneri serotype 2. Approximately 1200 suspected cases of shigellosis were reported in a two-month period from two townships in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. The outbreak resulted in at least five deaths, all in young children.

DISCUSSION: This outbreak of shigellosis highlights the threat of enteric diseases to vulnerable populations such as internally displaced persons in Papua New Guinea, as has been observed in other global settings.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalWestern Pacific Surveillance and Response
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

Benny, E., Mesere, K., Pavlin, B. I., Yakam, L., Ford, R., Yoannes, M., Kisa, D., Abdad, M. Y., Menda, L., Greenhill, A. R., & Horwood, P. F. (2014). A large outbreak of shigellosis commencing in an internally displaced population, Papua New Guinea, 2013. Western Pacific Surveillance and Response, 5(3). https://doi.org/10.5365/WPSAR.2014.5.2.003