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Shigellosis is an infection caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. This group of bacteria consists of four species:

  1. Group A: Shigella dysenteriae
  2. Group B: Shigella flexneri
  3. Group C: Shigella boydii
  4. Group D: Shigella sonnei


Incubation period
12 hours to four days (usually one to three days); up to one week for Shigella dysenteriae.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Diarrhoea - may contain blood, mucus and pus, watery diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Patients may also be asymptomatic
  • The illness is usually self-limited, and lasts from several days to weeks with an average of four to seven days

Faecal or rectal swabs.

Usually supportive, fluid and electrolyte replacement, in cases of watery diarrhoea/dehydration. Cases of severe dysentery need antibiotic therapy based on sensitivity test results. 

Control and Prevention 

  • Since shigellosis is highly infective, patients should not be employed to handle food or to provide child or patient care until 3 successive faecal samples or rectal swabs are found to be negative.
  • Advice on the importance of hand washing with soap and water after defecation.
  • Screening of faeces of household contacts and those exposed to the same source of infection is suggested. ​ 

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