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Shigella

Photomicrograph of Shigella

Electron micrograph of Shigella

Pathogens & Protocols

Why it's a Threat

This pathogen causes an estimated 400,000 cases of shigellosis per year in the United States. Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacterium. The diarrhea is often bloody. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. In some persons, especially young children and the elderly, the diarrhea can be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. A severe infection with high fever may also be associated with seizures in children under 2 years old.

Description

Gram-negative bacteria, straight rods approximately 0.5 micron wide and 2 microns long, exists as a single organism; nonmotile.

Vehicles

Transmission occurs mainly from person to person.

Prevention

  • Frequent and careful handwashing is important among all age groups.
  • Handwashing among children should be frequent and supervised by an adult in daycare centers and homes with children who have not been fully toilet trained.
  • However, people with shigellosis should not prepare food or drinks for others until they have been shown to no longer be carrying the Shigella bacterium, or if they have had no diarrhea for at least 2 days. More

Remarks

Poor hygiene allows Shigella to pass easily from person to person, particularly in developing regions of the world. Outbreaks have been associated with products such as salads, sandwiches, and unclean water.

Related Links

 
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