About the Shigella bacteria

Shigella bacteria cause shigella infection or illness.  This strain of bacteria generally causes an infection in the intestines and disrupts its functionality. Thus symptoms related to a shigella infection are mostly gastrointestinal related. An illness or infection of this type is also known as Shigellosis. It has been observed that this type of sickness is prevalent in young children as well as adults and practically anyone can contract or acquire shigella bacteria.


Usually the shigella species or strain of bacteria is found to reside in the inner lining of the intestines. The first and foremost symptom of this infection or illness is diarrhea. You may contract shigella bacteria in one or more ways. This strain of bacteria is mostly found in the stool. So, if you come in contact with a stool sample having shigella bacteria, you may acquire or contract the bacteria and suffer an infection. The bacteria are also found in contaminated water and food products.

Are you susceptible?

Now, who is susceptible to a shigella infection or illness? Well, anyone can contract this illness. But it is much prevalent and acquired by young children, elderly adults and those who have a weak immune system. Unwashed and dirty hands form a carrying medium of the bacteria. Sometimes young children forget to wash their hands after going to the bathroom; and may thus contract or acquire the bacteria. Now, if anyone comes in contact with them, the shigella bacterium is passed on. Patients in nursing homes and in hospitals may acquire this bacterium strain as well. The infection is very contagious and spreads quickly. A common mode of transfer is unwashed hands or hands that are not washed properly.


All shigella infection symptoms are gastrointestinal in nature. As mentioned earlier, diarrhea is one its prime symptoms. There may be blood in the stool as well. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramps in the abdomen, fever, fatigue, headaches and dehydration. Young children may experience seizures if the body temperature rises to extremes.

Diagnosing a shigella infection

Diagnosing a shigella infection is done primarily with the help of a stool examination prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner. The stool test indicates the presence of the shigella strain of bacterium in the stool sample. Once diagnosed with the infection, treatment to cure the same must begin immediately. Usually this is done by giving the patients intravenous fluids to combat dehydration. Antibiotics are also prescribed depending on the severity of the infection. Therefore, to prevent shigella infection, maintain a hygienic life style and wash your hands thoroughly with a good disinfectant.

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