What is Shigellosis?

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria in the genus Shigella. These bacteria can cause diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps in infected individuals. Shigellosis is spread through contact with an infected person's stool or contaminated food, water, or objects. Most cases of shigellosis are mild and can resolve without treatment, but severe cases can lead to life-threatening complications.

Signs and Symptoms of Shigellosis

Common symptoms of shigellosis include:

  • Diarrhoea, which may be bloody or contain mucus
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

In more serious cases, symptoms may include:

  • Dehydration from loss of fluids
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Complications of Shigellosis

In severe cases, shigellosis can result in life-threatening complications, such as:

  • Dehydration
  • Severe electrolyte imbalances
  • Infection of the blood
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Inflammation of the colon (colitis)

Treatment for Shigellosis

Most cases of shigellosis can be treated with antibiotics. Depending on the severity of the infection, treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin or azithromycin)
  • A high-fibre diet and plenty of fluids to reduce discomfort and prevent dehydration
  • Pain medications, such as ibuprofen, for cramps
  • Antidiarrheal medications to reduce symptoms

Prevention of Shigellosis

The best way to prevent shigellosis is to practice good hygiene. This includes washing your hands regularly with soap and water, avoiding contact with contaminated food or water, and using proper sanitation and cooking methods. Vaccines are also available for some types of Shigella infection.