Shigellosis is an acute foodborne ailment brought about by the shigella bacteria. Generally, an individual with the condition experiences minor abdominal discomfort or serious episodes of dysentery.

It is important to note that shigellosis can spread from an infected individual or via contaminated food and water. Other modes of transmission include:

  • Hand-to-mouth infection
  • Poor hygiene by not observing proper hand washing after changing diapers or using the toilet
  • Fomites (inanimate objects that can spread the infection and mechanical vectors such as houseflies.

What are the indications?

The start of the symptoms arises between 1-7 days after exposure to the bacteria. The general symptoms of shigellosis that might be present include:

  • Abrupt onset of abdominal pain or cramping rectal pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting

    The start of the symptoms arises between 1-7 days after exposure to the bacteria.

  • Diarrhea with mucus or blood

What are the possible complications?

In most instances, shigellosis settles without requiring treatment. The symptomatic treatment involves replacement of the lost fluids and electrolytes. Some of the possible complications that might arise include:

  • Seizures
  • Dehydration
  • Toxic megacolon
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Reactive arthritis

Management of shigellosis

The main treatment for shigellosis involves the replacement of fluids lost due to diarrhea and fever.

Some of the treatment options include:

  • Fluid replacement by increasing the intake of fluids to avoid dehydration
  • Oral rehydration solutions for children
  • Intravenous fluid replacement is recommended for dehydrated children and adults.
  • Antibiotics might be prescribed to shorten the length of the condition but only for severe cases of infection.
  • Antibiotics are recommended for elderly, infants and individuals with a weak immune system.


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