Researchers at INSERM in France recently discovered that Shigella, a
bacterium responsible for causing acute intestinal inflammation, destroys
our immune defences.
This is an important discovery as it is this bacterium that is responsible for bacillary dysentery – also known as shigellosis – which is one of the most severe forms of diarrhoeic disease.
Every year across the world, almost a million people die as a result of
diarrhoeic diseases, most of them children under the age of 5. The problem
most severe in sub-Saharan Africa. But now the team led by Philippe
Sansonetti has unmasked the strategies used by the Shigella bacterium to
counteract our antimicrobial protection.
The team is now conducting research to find treatments that will stimulate
our antimicrobial defences. This research programme offers new and
encouraging possibilities for treatment, not only for shigellosis but also
for many other infectious or inflammatory diseases of the intestine.