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What is Shigella?

Shigella infection is a common cause and form of diarrhea experienced as a result of individuals becoming infected with the Shigella family of bacteria.

While typically mild to moderate and brief, there are instances where Shigella can become more serious, and where post-infection symptoms and problems could continue for a period of months or even years. Continue reading to learn more about Shigella symptoms, treatment and prevention, and more.

How is Shigella contracted?

Shigella is contracted through ingesting contaminated food or water which has even microscopic amounts of feces from those who were infected. Direct contact with the bacteria from an infected individual may also cause you to become infected.

The most common forms of food which lead to an infection include salads and sandwiches -- items with a lot of hands-on preparation -- and raw vegetables which have been unwashed.

Shigella is far more commonplace in third world countries around the world than in the United States, and is therefore a common cause of traveler's diarrhea and associated problems.

Other high risk settings for Shigella infection include child-care and school settings. This includes not only the adults who are caring for the children, but the children themselves, particularly toddlers between the ages of 2 and 4.

Common Shigella symptoms

A Shigella infection is known as Shigellosis. It is an infectious bacterial disease which causes diarrhea. Shigellosis may be caused by several forms of bacteria, including Shigella sonnei or "Group D" Shigella, which accounts for two thirds of cases in the United States.

Shigella flexneri or "Group B" Shigella accounts for much of the rest in the United States. Other forms of Shigella are common in other countries, including Shigella dysenteriae type 1, which can be deadly.

In addition to diarrhea, other Shigella symptoms include:

  • Sudden abdominal cramps
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea specifically including bloody or mucus-filled diarrhea

Shigella Treatment & Prevention

Luckily, Shigella treatment and prevention are both generally easy, although prevention is not always possible. This is especially the case when traveling in developing countries. In these instances, it is best to only drink treated or boiled water, eat only cooked hot foods, and food which only you have handled and washed.

When stateside, prevention includes:

  • Thoroughly washing hands with soap after using the bathroom, changing children's diapers, before and after preparing foods, etc.
  • Disposing of soiled diapers and disinfecting diaper changing areas and/or equipment
  • Supervise handwashing of toddlers and small children
  • Avoiding drinking still water from ponds and lakes

Shigella treatment typically consists of simply getting enough fluids and rest. The duration of the illness is typically less than a week in duration, and may only be a few days. Illness typically sets in within 1 to 3 days after contact with contaminated food or water, but could take up to a week.

If you have Shigellosis it is recommended that you stay home from school or work to avoid the further spread of the disease. If a child has Shigellosis, it is recommended that he or she is kept from contact with uninfected children for several days, and extra care and attention to detail is given towards thorough cleanliness, disinfecting, cleaning, etc.

Shigella can be diagnosed through a laboratory test of stool when experiencing diarrhea and related symptoms.

Antibiotics can also be provided which will fight off Shigellosis in a shorter period of time, including ampicillin and ciprofloxacin, however, some strains are resistant to antibiotics. Antidiarrheal agents including Imodium or Lomotil should be avoided, as they can aggravate the illness.

In a small percentage of cases, as little as 2%, lingering symptoms may be present, including painful urination, or joint pain known as post-infectious arthritis. This can last for months or years and cause chronic arthritis, and results most typically when an individual predisposed to these issues develops a Shigella infection.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a Shigella infection in California and have suffered painful, long-lasting side effects and symptoms such as those mentioned above, then you should take action to seek proper remedies and protect your best interests.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help, and we'll go over the details of your case and illness to determine the best course of action while providing you with an entirely free consultation.

If you or a loved one has become ill as the result of unsafe food, please contact an Orange County Shigella Poisoning Lawyer at BISNAR CHASE immediately. Call 949-203-3814 today for a free consultation.

1301 Dove Street Newport Beach, CA 92660

Related Resources

Other Types of Food Poisoning

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