Shigella is a family of bacteria that are passed through ingestion of contaminated food or water, swimming or bathing contaminated water; or through direct contact with the bacteria in the stool.
Signs and symptoms
It is noted that Shigella infects the digestive track of an individual thereby causing abdominal pain and cramps, vomiting, fever and nausea. Intestinally, it causes bloody diarrhea to the victim. Shigella infections come with various complications on the victims.
Young children and the elderly at times experience severe diarrhea that they can even be hospitalized. Children less than two years old can also experience seizures as a result of the severe infection of the bacteria.
However, some infected people might not have any symptoms at all and yet may still pass the shigella bacteria to others. In such a scenario, the feces remain contagious.
Several risk factors are associated with shigella infection. The most common ones are:
- Having close contact with infected people for instance, in jails, military barracks, nursing homes or child cares
- Living or travelling in poorly sanitized places can also lead to contraction of shigella infection.
Treatment and Prevention
Germs are microscopic living organisms that pass from one person to another. It is important to note that different kinds of germs can also cause diarrhea, thus establishing the cause through laboratory tests in the stools of an infected person will help guide treatment. For instance, mild infections of Shigella need no antibiotic treatment as victims normally recover quickly. However, to shorten the illness by a few days, one needs to administer appropriate antibiotic treatment.
Should one get infected with the bacteria or incase a child contracts the disease, preventive and treatment measures should be undertaken as soon as possible. This infection normally runs its course for about five to seven days. The lost body fluids from diarrhea ought to be replaced in situations where the general health of the patient is good and infection is mild. It is also advisable to avoid drugs that are intended to treat diarrhea as they can make your condition worse. To counter the dehydrating effects of diarrhea, one should drink a lot of water. Meanwhile, adults and children who are severely dehydrated should be taken for treatment in hospitals where they can receive salts and fluids intravenously.
In conclusion therefore, shigella infection being a bacterial infection, affects mostly children under the age of four years the symptoms being diarrhea, vomiting just to mention a few. Mild forms of the disease do not warrant antibiotics thus, taking sufficient amount of water is necessary to restore the lost fluids. Should the victim’s condition become severe, medical attention becomes a priority. Individuals are discouraged from travelling or living in poorly ventilated areas. Consequently, maintaining high levels of hygiene through washing hands and proper waste disposal help reduce the risks of shigella infections.
First Aid Training and Courses – Read more!