How is shigellosis transmitted?

Updated: Aug 20, 2021
  • Author: Heba Rashid Ashraf, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Shigellosis occurs when Shigella species invade the epithelial lining of the terminal ileum, colon, and rectum, causing diarrhea and bacillary dysentery that ranges from mild to severe disease. It is a major public health problem in developing countries where sanitation is poor but also exists in industrialized nations among the homeless and those with low and middle income. [1]  

Shigellosis is highly infectious and spreads by fecal-oral transmission. Shigella sonnei and Shigella flexneri cause 90% of the cases of shigellosis; Shigella dysenteriae has produced epidemic shigellosis. Left untreated, fulminant dysentery may occur and is potentially fatal. No vaccine against Shigella species exists yet, however, several are under development. [4, 5, 6, 7]


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