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Background: Shigella species (spp.) are a leading cause of moderate to severe diarrhea in children worldwide. The recent emergence of quinolone-resistant Shigella spp. gives cause for concern, and South Asia has been identified as a reservoir for global spread. The influence of socioeconomic status on antimicrobial resistance in developing countries, such as those in South Asia, remains unknown.
Methods: We used data collected from 2009 to 2014 from a hospital specializing in the treatment of diarrhea in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to determine the relationship between ciprofloxacin-resistant Shigella spp. isolates and measures of socioeconomic status in Bangladeshi children less than 5 years of age.
Results: We found 2.7% (230/8, 672) of children who presented with diarrhea had Shigella spp. isolated from their stool, and 50% (115/230) had resistance to ciprofloxacin. Using multivariable logistic regression analysis, we found that children from families where the father’s income was in the highest quintile had significantly higher odds of having ciprofloxacin-resistant Shigella spp. compared to children in the lowest quintile (OR = 6.1, CI 1.9-19). Factors protective against the development of resistance included access to improved sanitation (OR = 0.27, CI 0.11-0.7), and improved water sources (OR = 0.48, CI 0.25-0.92). We did not find a relationship between ciprofloxacin resistance and other proxies for socioeconomic status, including the presence of animals in the home, nutritional status, paternal education level, and the number of family members in the home.
Conclusions: Although the associations between wealth and antimicrobial resistance are not fully understood, possible explanations include increased access and use of antibiotics, greater access to healthcare facilities and thus resistant pathogens, or greater consumption of commercially produced foods prepared with antibiotics.
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