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- Shigellosis facts*
- What is shigellosis?
- What are the symptoms of Shigella?
- How long after infection do symptoms appear?
- How long will symptoms last?
- Can there be any complications from Shigella infections?
- How can Shigella infections be diagnosed?
- How can Shigella infections be treated?
- Is antibiotic resistance a problem with Shigella?
- How will I know if I have an antibiotic-resistant Shigella infection?
- What should I do if I have an antibiotic-resistant Shigella infection?
- How can we reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant Shigella?
- How is Shigella spread?
- How can I reduce my risk of getting shigellosis?
- I was diagnosed with shigellosis. What can I do to avoid giving it to other people?
- My child was diagnosed with shigellosis. How can I keep others from catching it?
- Should an infected person be excluded from school or work?
- What else can be done to prevent shigellosis?
- What can be done if an outbreak of Shigella occurs in the childcare setting?
- People at Risk
Can there be any complications from Shigella infections?
Possible complications from Shigella infections include:
- Post-infectious arthritis. About 2% of persons who are infected with Shigella flexneri later develop pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called post-infectious arthritis. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis. Post-infectious arthritis is caused by a reaction to Shigella infection that happens only in people who are genetically predisposed to it.
- Blood stream infections. Although rare, blood stream infections are caused either by Shigella organisms or by other germs in the gut that get into the bloodstream when the lining of the intestines is damaged during shigellosis. Blood stream infections are most common among patients with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV, cancer, or severe malnutrition.
- Seizures. Generalized seizures have been reported occasionally among young children with shigellosis, and usually resolve without treatment. Children who experience seizures while infected with Shigella typically have a high fever or abnormal blood electrolytes (salts), but it is not well understood why the seizures occur.
- Hemolytic-uremic syndrome or HUS. HUS occurs when bacteria enter the digestive system and produce a toxin that destroys red blood cells. Patients with HUS often have bloody diarrhea. HUS is only associated with Shiga-toxin producing Shigella, which is found most commonly in Shigella dysenteriae.
How can Shigella infections be diagnosed?
Many different kinds of germs can cause diarrhea, so establishing the cause will help guide treatment. Healthcare providers can order laboratory tests to identify Shigella in the stools of an infected person. The laboratory can also do special tests to determine which antibiotics, if any, would be best to treat the infection.