What is it?
- Shigella is a genus of bacteria that causes an infection called shigellosis.
- It is the second leading cause of bacterial diarrhea(first being rotavirus) worldwide and the third leading cause of death in children less than 5 years old.
Method of transmission
- Shigella is generally transmitted through contaminated food or water, or through person-to-person contact.
- Shigellosis is primarily a disease of poor and crowded communities that do not have adequate sanitation or safe water.
- Handwashing is said to reduce shigella transmission by 70%.
- Recommended public health control measures are exclusion of ill people with shigellosis from work, food preparation, and childcare.
What are the symptoms? How long does it last?
- The incubation period of shigellosis is typically 1–4 days, but up to 8 days with Shigella dysenteriae type 1.
- Asymptomatic infection can occur, particularly in previously infected individuals.
- Symptoms include diarrhoea, fever, stomach cramps which can last for seven days.
- The severity of the disease varies by the infecting species:
- Shigella dysenteriae infections usually cause dysentery, which may also occur in infection with Shigella flexneri .
- Shigella boydii and Shigella sonnei often have self-limited watery diarrhea.
- The cornerstone of shigella treatment is the maintenance of hydration and electrolyte balance.
- Currently, there are no vaccines available for shigellosis
- Due to the increasing rate of multidrug resistance, in particular resistance to fluoroquinolone in Asian and African regions, this has been classified as a medium priority for research and development of new and effective antibiotic treatments by the WHO Priority Pathogens List of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Why in News:
- The Kerala health department identified Shigella bacteria as the cause for the food poisoning incident