What is shigellosis?
Shigellosis is an illness caused by bacteria. It is commonly known as Bacillary dysentery.
Shigellosis occurs throughout the world and is most often found in children under 10 years old.
What are symptoms of shigellosis?
There are several different variations of the disease. Some produce only mild illness, while others are more serious and can be fatal. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and cramps. Learn more about diarrheal infections.
In typical cases, bowel movements contain blood, mucus and pus. Children may also experience convulsions.
Generally, symptoms appear within one to 3 days of contact and patients will be ill for approximately 3 to 5 days. However, in some cases, the illness can last for several weeks.
How is shigellosis spread?
Shigellosis is spread from person-to-person. The infection can be spread directly or indirectly, when an infected individual contaminates food, water or milk that other people eat or drink. Often, transmission occurs when infected individuals don’t wash their hands properly. Cockroaches and flies can also spread the disease. Shigellosis is highly contagious.
How is shigellosis treated?
Most people recover on their own without specific treatment. Drink plenty of fluids and monitor for signs of dehydration.
Signs of dehydration include:
- dry lips and mouth
- dark coloured urine with a foul smell
- lack of energy
- flushed skin
- increased heart rate
How is shigellosis prevented?
- Thorough handwashing is the best prevention. Make sure hands are washed after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing foods.
- Educate children on the importance of hand washing.
- Dispose of sewage in a safe and sanitary manner. All latrines should be made fly-proof.
- Obtain drinking water from a safe water supply.
- Cover food to protect it from flies.
- Avoid preparing or handling food if you have diarrhea.