*Shingellosis facts by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
- Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella.
- Symptoms of Shigella infection include diarrhea (often bloody), fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after exposure to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days.
- Most Shigella infections are caused by the bacterium passing from stools or soiled fingers of one person to the mouth of another person. This happens when basic hygiene and handwashing habits are inadequate and can happen during certain types of sexual activity. It may also be acquired from eating contaminated food.
- Mild Shigella infection usually resolves on its own without antibiotics, however, antibiotics can shorten the illness and kill the Shigella bacteria. Antibiotics commonly used are ampicillin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra), ceftriaxone (Rocephin), or ciprofloxacin. Antidiarrheal agents can make the illness worse and should be avoided.
- The spread of Shigella can be prevented by handwashing with soap, basic food safety preparations, proper disposal of soiled diapers, and avoiding swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated pools
What is shigellosis?
Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. The diarrhea is often bloody. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Persons with shigellosis in the United States rarely require hospitalization. A severe infection with high fever may be associated with seizures in children less than 2 years old. Some persons who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/18/2014
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