, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 241–244 | Cite as

Detection of Shigella sonnei in a respiratory specimen in a patient with subacute atypical pneumonia

  • Hiwa Nahid
  • Désirée Staub
  • Herbert Hächler
  • Werner C. Albrich
Case Report



Pneumonia caused by shigellosis with or without typical dysentery in immunocompetent patients is an uncommon entity.

Case report

We describe a case of pneumonia in an immunocompetent, previously healthy middle-aged man from Switzerland without relevant travel history which was presumably caused by Shigella sonnei. He was originally admitted for suspected lung cancer. The clinical picture was remarkable as the patient presented with cough and purulent sputum production, but otherwise no classical signs of pneumonia. Furthermore, there was no diarrhoeal episode in the recent history. It is an uncommon presentation of shigellosis in an immunocompetent person without underlying severe predisposing conditions.


We report an unusual identification of S. sonnei as the only identified pathogen from respiratory specimens, which we therefore consider the most likely etiology of this subacute atypical pneumonia. This case illustrates the importance of a complete work-up in a patient whose suspected malignancy could not be proven.


Bacteraemia Pneumonia Shigella sonnei 


Compliance with ethical standards


The authors received no specific funding for this work.

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of General Internal MedicineKantonsspital Sankt GallenSankt GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.National Centre for Enteropathogenic Bacteria and Listeria (NENT), Institute for Food Safety and HygieneVetsuisse Faculty University of ZürichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital EpidemiologyKantonsspital Sankt GallenSankt GallenSwitzerland

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