Real Life Impacts of Shigella Infection
What happens to people who have severe Shigella infections or complications of Shigella infection?
Because the illnesses caused by the ingestion of Shigella bacteria range from mild to severe, the real life impacts of Shigella infection vary from person to person.
While anyone can become ill with Shigella infection, very young children, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems are most likely to develop severe illness.
- About 2% of persons who are infected with one type of Shigella, Shigella flexneri, later develop pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called post-infectious arthritis, or reactive arthritis. The arthritis 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. 
- An unknown percentage of patients with Shigella infections develop digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome.
Although most patients with Shigella infections recover within a few months, some continue to experience complications for years.
One woman whose life was permanently altered by this devastating pathogen volunteered to share her story. Maryann was a healthy 56-year-old when she became ill with a Shigella infection in 2010. She was relegated to a nursing home for a time, and to this day Maryann has not completely recovered.