- What is Shigella?
Shigella is a genus of bacteria that can cause sudden and severe diarrhea (gastroenteritis) in humans. Shigella thrives in the human intestine and is commonly spread both through food and by person-to-person contact.
- Where does Shigella come from?
The ultimate source of Shigella bacteria is the infected excrement of a previously infected individual.
Symptoms & Risks
- What are the symptoms of Shigella infection?
Most people who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
- Are there serious and long-term risks associated with Shigella infection?
Complications of shigellosis include severe dehydration, seizures in small children, rectal bleeding, and invasion of the blood stream by the bacterium.
- How is Shigella treated?
Although shigellosis is usually a self-limited illness, antibiotics can shorten the course, and in the most serious cases, might be life saving.
- How do I know if I have a Shigella infection?
Determining that Shigella is the cause of an illness depends on laboratory tests that identify the bacteria in the stool of an infected person.
- How common is a Shigella infection?
About 25,000 or so laboratory confirmed cases of shigellosis are reported each year in the U.S. However, many cases go undiagnosed and/or unreported and the best estimates are that 450,000 cases of Shigella infection actually occur annually in the U.S.
- How can a Shigella infection be prevented?
The spread of Shigella from an infected person can be stopped by frequent and careful hand washing with soap and water. At swimming pools, maintaining a chlorine level of at least 0.5-PPM will kill Shigella. Basic food safety precautions will also help to prevent shigellosis.
Copyright © 2005 OutBreak, Inc.