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- Aerobic Gram-negative rod (non-motile, non-spore forming), family Enterobacteriaceae.
- Four groups: subdivided into serotypes and subserotypes based upon lipopolysaccharide O antigenic repeats.
- Group A (S. dysenteriae see separate module for discussion of Group A infections, often cause of pandemics arising from natural and man-made disasters)
- Group B (S. flexneri, leading cause in low- and middle-income countries)
- Group C (S. boydii, relatively uncommon cause)
- Group D (S. sonnei, leading diarrhea cause in high income countries)
- >46 serotypes mean that there is often little protective immunity offered when exposed to new infections.
- In clinical microbiology laboratories, MacConkey or EMB agar in addition to Shigella-Salmonella agar yields best growth.