Symptoms Of Shigella Infection: Causes And Treatment Options

Shigella infection is an intestinal disease caused by the shigella bacteria. The chief manifestation of the infection is bloody diarrhea. Shigella gets transferred via direct contact with the bacteria in feces. The bacteria also get passed in contaminated food or by drinking or swimming in contaminated water.

Children are most susceptible to the infection.

Mild cases clear up within a week, usually without any medication.

Signs and symptoms of shigella infection commence a day or two after coming in contact with the bacteria, but could even take up 7 days to manifest. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea with blood and mucus
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Fever

How Do You Get Shigella Infection?

Infection develops when you inadvertently swallow the shigella bacteria. This happens when:

  • If you do not wash your hands thoroughly after diaper changes of a child who has shigella infection, you get infected. Direct contact with an infected individual is the commonest way the disease spreads.
  • If an individual has the infection and handles food, the shigella bacteria get transmitted to those who eat the food.
    Contamination also occurs if the fruits and vegetables have been grown in a field which contains sewage.
  • Drinking contaminated water is another huge factor. Water could get contaminated either from sewage or from someone who has shigella infection and swims in the pool.
  • Shigella infection is fairly common in children aged between 2 and 4 years.
  • Close contact with infected people spreads the bacteria from one individual to another.
  • Shigella outbreaks are very common in child care centers, nursing homes, community pools, and military barracks.

Treatment Options For Shigella Infection

  • Shigella infection runs a course of 5 to 7 days. Your health care provider will carry out tests to confirm the presence of the bacteria in the body and then start treatment.
  • Replacing the fluids lost from diarrhea is very vital, to combat dehydration and it may be the only treatment required if the shigella infection is mild. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water; 2 to 3 liters in a day is advised to ensure that dehydration does not set in. Children require oral rehydration solution, to make up for lost fluid as well electrolytes.
  • For severe cases of infection, antibiotics need to be given to battle the bacteria successfully and prevent complications. On the other hand, some shigella bacteria have become drug resistant. So doctors do not recommended antibiotics unless the shigella infection is really severe.
  • Antibiotics are mandatory for infants, older adults and people having HIV infection, as well as where there is a huge risk of spreading the infection.
  • Also, step up your vitamin C intake; consume lots of fresh fruit juices – orange, lime, sweet lime berries and also confer with your physician about taking a vitamin C supplement.
  • Children and adults who are dehydrated to a very great degree must go to the hospital, where they are administered fluids and salts intravenously, instead of orally. Intravenous hydration proffers you water and minerals rapidly as compared to oral solutions.