Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by ShigellaThe Shigella germ is a family of bacteria that can cause diarrhea in humans. People with shigellosis shed the bacteria in their feces. The bacteria can spread from an infected person to contaminate water or food, or directly to another person. Getting just a little bit of the Shigella bacteria into your mouth is enough to cause symptoms.

The illness is most commonly seen in child-care settings and schools. Shigellosis is a cause of traveler’s diarrhea, from contaminated food and water in developing countries.


Contaminated food or water, or contact with an infected person. Foods most often associated with Shigella outbreaks are salads and sandwiches that involve a lot of hand contact in their preparation, and raw vegetables contaminated in the field.

Incubation Period

1 -7 days (usually 1-3 days)


Sudden abdominal cramping, fever, diarrhea that may be bloody or contains mucus, nausea and vomiting

Duration of Illness

2-7 days

Who’s at Risk?

Children, especially toddlers aged 2-4

What Do I Do?

Drink plenty of fluids and get rest. Stay home from school or work to avoid spreading the bacteria to others. If you cannot drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration, call your doctor.

How Do I Prevent It?
  • Wash hands with soap carefully and frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before preparing foods or beverages.
  • Dispose of soiled diapers properly
  • Disinfect diaper changing areas after using them.
  • Keep children with diarrhea out of child care settings while they are ill.
  • Supervise handwashing of toddlers and small children after they use the toilet.
  • Do not prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea
  • Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.
  • When traveling in developing countries, drink only treated or boiled water, and eat only cooked hot foods or fruits you peel yourself.

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