Shigella: Facts and Details
What is shigellosis?
Shigellosis is a diarrheal infection caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella.
How common is shigellosis?
Every year, there are about 500,000 cases of shigellosis in the U.S.
How is shigellosis spread?
Shigella bacteria are spread by touching objects or eating food or water that has come into contact with an infected person’s stool (poop). Exposure can also occur through sexual contact.
What are the symptoms of shigellosis?
Symptoms of shigellosis typically start one to two days after exposure. Symptoms include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, stomach pain and straining to pass stools even when bowels are empty.
How long is a person contagious?
Shigellosis usually lasts between five and seven days. An infected person could spread the bacteria for up to two weeks after diarrhea has ended.
How is shigellosis treated?
Shigellosis will resolve by itself, usually within five to seven days. People with mild illness may need only fluids and rest. Antibiotics may be useful for severe cases. However, Shigella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. Therefore, medical providers should test the bacteria to determine which antibiotics are likely to work, if treatment is needed.
How can you prevent shigellosis?
There is no vaccine to prevent shigellosis. Prevent infection by:
- Carefully wash your hands with soap and water, especially before preparing food, before eating and after changing a diaper or helping to clean another person who has
- Wash fruits and vegetables before
- Consume water from a safe
- Avoid sexual activity with those who have diarrhea or who have recently recovered from
Stop the spread of disease by:
- Keep children with diarrhea out of school or daycare until diarrhea stops for at least 24
- If shigellosis is diagnosed, children will need to have two negative stool tests before returning to
- Inform the daycare provider or school nurse about
- Don’t let anyone who has diarrhea use a pool or swim in a pond until two weeks after their diarrhea has
For more information:
Contact the Sedgwick County Division of Health Epidemiology Program at 316‐660‐7300.