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Classification and external resources
ICD-10 A03
ICD-9-CM 004
DiseasesDB 12005
MedlinePlus 000295
eMedicine med/2112
MeSH D004405

Shigellosis, also known as bacillary dysentery or Marlow Syndrome, in its most severe manifestation, is a foodborne illness caused by infection by bacteria of the genus Shigella. Shigellosis rarely occurs in animals other than humans.[1]

The causative organism is frequently found in water polluted with human feces, and is transmitted via the fecal-oral route. The usual mode of transmission is directly person-to-person hand-to-mouth, in the setting of poor hygiene among children.[1]


  • Signs and symptoms 1
  • Prevention 2
  • Treatment 3
  • Epidemiology 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms may range from mild abdominal discomfort to full-blown dysentery characterized by cramps, diarrhea, with slimy-consistent stools, fever, blood, pus, or mucus in stools or tenesmus.[2] Onset time is 12 to 96 hours, and recovery takes 5 to 7 days.[3]

Infections are associated with mucosal ulceration, rectal bleeding, and drastic dehydration. Reactive arthritis and hemolytic uremic syndrome are possible sequelae that have been reported in the aftermath of shigellosis.

Shigella can be transmitted through food, including salads (potato, tuna, shrimp, macaroni, and chicken), raw vegetables, milk and dairy products, and meat. Contamination of these foods is usually through the fecal-oral route. Fecally contaminated water and unsanitary handling by food handlers are the most common causes of contamination. Apart from hand-to-mouth infection, Shigellosis is transmitted through fomites, water and mechanical vectors like houseflies.

The most common neurological symptom includes seizures.[4]


Simple precautions can be taken to prevent getting shigellosis: wash hands before handling food and thoroughly cook all food before eating.

Since shigellosis is spread very quickly among children, keeping infected children out of daycare for 24 hours after their symptoms have disappeared, will decrease the occurrence of shigellosis in daycares.[5]

Currently, no licensed vaccine targeting Shigella exists. Shigella has been a longstanding

  • CDC's Shigellosis Information Page
  • (ETEC)Escherichia coliVaccine Resource Library: Shigellosis and enterotoxigenic
  • WHO Global Alert and Response Disease Outbreak News: Shigellosis
  • WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research: Shigellosis

External links

  1. ^ a b Clemens, John; Kotloff, Karen; Kay, Bradford (May 1999). "Generic protocol to estimate the burden of Shigella diarrhoea and dysenteric mortalit" (PDF). World Health Organization: Department of Vaccines and Biologicals. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Shigellosis". The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Symptoms Of Shigella Infection". About Shigella. Marler Clark. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Diarrhoeal Diseases: Shigellosis". Initiative for Vaccine Research. World Health Organization. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  5. ^ mayo clinic
  6. ^ "Vaccine Research And Development: New strategies for accelerating Shigella vaccine development" (PDF). Weekly Epidemiological Record (World Health Organization) 72 (11): 73–80. 14 March 1997. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Vaccine against shigellosis (bacillary dysentery):a promising clinical trial". Institut Pasteur. 15 January 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Katzung, Bertram G. (2007). Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Medical. p. 733.  
  9. ^ World Health Organization. "Shigella". Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "How can Shigella infections be treated?". Shigellosis: General Information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Ram, PK; Crump JA; Gupta SK; Miller MA; Mintz ED (2008). "Analysis of Data Gaps Pertaining to Shigella Infections in Low and Medium Human Development Index Countries, 1984–2005". Epidemiology and Infection 136 (5): 577–603.  
  12. ^ Angulo, Frederick J.; Swerdlow, David L. (1995). "Bacterial Enteric Infections in Persons Infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus". Clinical Infectious Diseases 21 (Supplement 1): S84–S93.  
  13. ^ Todar, Kenneth. "Shigella and Shigellosis". Todar's Online Textbook of Bacteriology. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 


See also

An estimated 18,000 cases of shigellosis occur annually in the United States. Infants, the elderly, and the critically ill are susceptible to the severest symptoms of disease, but all humans are susceptible to some degree. Individuals with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) are more frequently infected with Shigella.[12] Shigellosis is a more common and serious condition in the developing world; fatality rates of shigellosis epidemics in developing countries can be 5–15%.[13]

Insufficient data exists,[11] but conservative estimates suggest that Shigella causes approximately 90 million cases of severe dysentery annually, with at least 100,000 of these resulting in death, mostly among children in the developing world.[4] Shigella also causes approximately 580,000 cases annually among travelers and military personnel from industrialized countries.[4]


The severity of the symptoms and the length of time the stool contains Shigella are reduced with antibiotics. However, many strains of Shigella are becoming resistant to common antibiotics, and effective medications are often in short supply in developing countries.[4][9] Antidiarrheal drugs (such as diphenoxylate or loperamide) may prolong the infection and should not be used.[10]

Treatment consists mainly of replacing fluids and salts lost because of diarrhea. Oral replacement is satisfactory for most people, but some may need to receive fluids intravenously. In most cases, the disease resolves within four to eight days without antibiotics. Severe infections may last three to six weeks. Antibiotics, such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Co-Trimoxazole), ciprofloxacin may be given when the person is very young or very old, when the disease is severe, or when there is a high risk of the infection spreading to other people. Additionally, ampicillin (but not amoxicillin) was effective in treating this disease previously. But now the first choice of drug is pivmecillinam.[8]


[7] There are promising results for a vaccine against serotype 1, which otherwise show large resistance to antibiotics.[6] Candidates in development include live attenuated, conjugate, ribosomal, and proteosome vaccines.[4]

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