Shigellosis, also known as Shigella infection, is a contagious disease that affects the digestive system, causing stomach pain, diarrhea, and fever. It is a type of food poisoning and can be called bacillary dysentery, which means diarrhea with blood or mucus

Shigellosis is brought on by the shigella family of bacteria. The infection occur when people come into touch with and ingest tiny amounts of bacteria from an infected person’s stool. Shigella bacteria can also be contracted through sexual contact with an infected person, swimming in contaminated water, eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Washing hands often with soap and water is really important to stop it from spreading

Anyone can get the infection. However, young kids are more at risk because they often touch things and then put their hands in their mouths. Shigellosis is often treated with antibiotics, but a mild case goes away by itself within a week.


Shigellosis signs and symptoms typically lasts about five to seven days, though sometimes it can be longer. They typically appear within one to two days after exposure but can take up to a week. Some infected individuals show no symptoms but can still spread the bacteria through their feces for a few weeks. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea, which may be bloody, watery, and/or containing mucus or puss.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Fever

If signs and symptoms of shigellosis are observed, consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. Contact your doctor if you or your child experiences bloody diarrhea or severe diarrhea that leads to weight loss and dehydration. Additionally, contact your doctor if you or your child has diarrhea accompanied by a fever of 101°F (38°C) or higher.


Shigella bacteria are commonly present in the stool of infected individuals. They spread when a person comes in contact with it, usually through:

  • Persontoperson contact: A person runs the risk of being infected if they dont thoroughly wash their hands after being in contact with feces, such as changing a child’s diaper. Direct contact between people is often the most common route for the disease to spread.
  • Consuming contaminated food: Food that grows in a field that receives sewage runoff is susceptible to contracting the shigella bacteria. Bacteria can also be transferred from infected individuals handling food to consumers.
  • Swallowing contaminated water: People contract shigellosis by consuming food or water that has been contaminated.

When someone with shigella infection swims in water, it can become contaminated with shigella bacteria.

Risk factors

Shigella infections can happen to anyone, at any age. However, several factors may contribute to ones risk of acquiring shigella infection, such as

  • Age: Young children are at higher risk because they tend to put their hands in their mouths more often. Shigella infections mostly occur in children under the age of five.
  • Being in crowded places or groups: Shigella outbreaks are more frequent in community wading pools, daycare, nursing homes, and military barracks. The bacteria is transferred from person to person through close contact
  • Being in areas with poor sanitation: The risk of contracting shigella is higher in people who reside in or visit underdeveloped nations.
  • Having sexual activity: Direct or indirect oralanal contact during sexual activity can lead to an increased risk of shigella infection, particularly in men who have sex with men.