Shigella spp.


Shigella bacteria cause. Shigella and is found in water polluted with human feces.

Symptoms include abdominal pain; cramps; diarrhea; fever; vomiting; blood, pus, or mucus in stools and tenesmus. The onset time is 12 to 50 hours.

Shigella organisms attaching and penetrating epithelial cells of the intestinal mucosa cause the disease. They multiply, and spread to adjacent cells resulting in tissue destruction. Some strains produce enterotoxins and Shiga toxins (very much like the verotoxin of E. coli O157:H7). Infections are associated with mucosal ulceration, rectal bleeding, drastic dehydration; fatality may be as high as 10-15% with some strains. Reiter's disease, reactive arthritis, and hemolytic uremic syndrome are possible complications from shigellosis

Fecally contaminated water and unsanitary handling by food handlers are the most common causes of contamination Foods implicated include: salads (potato, tuna, shrimp, macaroni, and chicken), raw vegetables, milk and dairy products, and poultry. Contamination is usually through the faecal-oral route..


Infants, the elderly, and the infirm are susceptible to the severest symptoms. Shigellosis is a very common for AIDS patients and non-AIDS homosexual men.

References: MMWR 48(14):1999 , MMWR 45(11):1996 , MMWR 43(35):1994