Shigella infection (shigellosis) is an intestinal infection caused by the shigella family of bacteria. You can get shigellosis through direct contact with infected stool, eating contaminated food, or drinking or swimming in contaminated water. Mild cases of Shigella infection typically resolve themselves within a week. More severe cases may require treatment. Though anyone can get shigellosis, the infection is more common in children under the age of five.
Some people with shigellosis never experience symptoms, but those who do typically begin to see the signs one to two days after coming into contact with the bacteria, though symptoms can take up to a week to appear. The main symptom of shigellosis is diarrhea, often containing mucus or blood. Other symptoms include abdominal cramps or pain, fever, and feeling the need to have a bowel movement even when the bowel is empty. These symptoms typically resolve within five to seven days but can last up to four weeks. In some cases, it may take several months before bowel habits return to normal.
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