Shigellosis is a bacterial infection affecting the intestinal tract caused by group of bacteria called Shigella. Children, especially toddlers aged 2 to 4, are the most likely to get shigellosis, thus putting their school-aged siblings at risk.
Shigella sonnei is generally found in humans and most likely transmitted via fecal-oral route with an incubation period of 1-3 days. Contaminated food and water can also be a source of infection. Asymptomatic carriers are common with this disease.
The disease is usually self-limiting, lasting about 4-7 days. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Watery or bloody diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
Most people with shigellosis will recover on their own. However, especially children could be at risk for seizures and other complications. Some may require fluids to prevent dehydration. Antibiotics are occasionally used to treat severe cases or to shorten the carrier phase which may be important for food handlers, children in day care or institutionalized individuals.
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