What are the possible intestinal complications of shigellosis?

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

Proctitis or rectal prolapse is common in infants and young children. This is induced by invasion of the organism into the colonic mucosa, causing severe inflammation of the rectum and distal colon. [23, 24]

Toxic megacolon occurs primarily in the setting of S dysenteriae infection. The pathogenesis is unclear, but it occurs in patients with pancolitis and seems to be related to the intensity of inflammation rather than being mediated by the Shiga toxin. [23, 24]

Intestinal obstruction can develop from severe colonic disease. The incidence of this complication in one series of 1211 patients with shigellosis was 2.5%. [25]  The patients with obstruction were more likely to be infected with type 1 S dysenteriae.

Colonic perforation is an extremely rare complication of shigellosis. It occurs primarily in infants or severely malnourished patients and is associated with infection due to type 1 S dysenteriae or S flexneri. [26]


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