Diagnosis and Treatment

CDC Health Advisory: Increase in extensively drug-resistant Shigella infections (shigellosis) in the United States.


Doctor consulting with patient

Infection is diagnosed when a laboratory identifies Shigella bacteria in the stool (poop) of an ill person. The test could be a culture that isolates the bacteria or a rapid diagnostic test that detects the genetic material of the bacteria.


Contact your healthcare provider if you or one of your family members has bloody or prolonged diarrhea (diarrhea lasting more than 3 days) or severe stomach cramping or tenderness, especially if you also have a fever or feel very sick. Tell your healthcare provider if you have other medical conditions or a weakened immune system—for example, because of an HIV infection or chemotherapy treatment. If you have a weakened immune system, you may be more likely to become severely ill.

  • People with Shigella infection should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • People with bloody diarrhea should not use anti-diarrheal medicines, such as loperamide (Imodium) or diphenoxylate with atropine (Lomotil). These medicines may make symptoms worse.
  • Antibiotics can shorten the time you have fever and diarrhea by about 2 days.
  • Ciprofloxacin and azithromycin are two recommended oral antibiotics.

If your healthcare provider prescribes an antibiotic, take it exactly as directed and finish taking all the pills even if you feel better.