Preventing Shigella Infection

At a glance

  • Shigella germs can spread easily from one person to another.
  • It only takes a small amount of Shigella to make someone sick.
  • Learn how you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from getting sick.
Woman washing hands in bathroom sink


People can get a Shigella infection (shigellosis) after putting something in their mouth or swallowing something that has come into contact with the stool (poop) of someone with a Shigella infection.

Prevention tips

You can reduce your chance of getting infected by following these tips:

  • Carefully wash your hands with soap and water during key times:
    • Before any sexual activity.
    • Before preparing food or eating.
    • After going to the bathroom, changing a diaper, or cleaning up after someone who went to the bathroom.
  • Take care when changing diapers.
    • As soon as you change a diaper, throw it away in a covered, lined garbage can.
    • Clean up any leaks or spills from the diaper right away.
    • Wash your hands and the child's hands with soap and water right away.
  • Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or swimming pools.
  • When traveling internationally, follow safe food and water habits and wash hands often with soap and water.
  • If you or your partner has been diagnosed with shigellosis, do not have sex. To reduce the chance of Shigella spreading, wait at least two weeks after diarrhea ends to have sex.

Help prevent the spread of Shigella infection to others when you are sick

  • Wash hands often, especially:
    • Before eating or preparing food.
    • After using the bathroom or changing diapers.
  • Don't prepare food if you are sick or share food with anyone.
  • Don't swim.
  • Don't have sex for at least two weeks after you no longer have diarrhea.
  • Stay home from school or from healthcare, food service, or childcare jobs while sick or until your health department says it's safe to return.