Most of the multiplex PCR (mPCR) used to identify Shigella do not discriminate between Shigella species or serotypes. We designed a mPCR to differentiate between S. flexneri and S. sonnei strains based on the detection of markers associated with the she pathogenicity island described in Shigella. In addition, specific primers were included to detect the Shigella virulence determinants ShET-1 and ShET-2 enterotoxin genes. The analysis of 304 Shigella strains from Chile and 79 Shigella strains from other geographic locations indicated that the mPCR described here detected all Shigella species and specifically differentiated S. flexneri and S. sonnei. The technique was sensitive, reproducible, specific and simple to perform, providing a new tool with the potential to be employed for epidemiological and diagnostic purposes.
(Accepted August 18 2009)
(Online publication September 18 2009)
c1 Author for correspondence: Dr C. S. Toro, Programa de Microbiología y Micología, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Independencia 1027, Independencia, Santiago, Chile. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)