How is shigellosis transmitted?

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