Sunday, 18 August 2013 09:47


Written by 
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Shigellosis and your Child







 What is Shigellosis?


Shigellosis is a severe intestinal infection which is caused by the Shigella bacteria (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012). Shigellosis is a major problem in many under developed countries and is a major cause of childhood diarrhoea (Talaro, 2008). Symptoms include diarrhoea which may contain blood or mucus, fever, vomiting and cramps.

How does Shigellosis spread?

It spreads when the bacteria enters the body or mouth. This usually happens when the following occurs:

  • Children with Shigella in their faeces do not wash their hands effectively after going to the toilet.

It is important to note that very small numbers of the bacteria are needed to cause an infection. Stringent control measures are needed to manage the infection (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).

Incubation Period

The incubation period is usually 1-3 days but it can be up to 7 days.

Infectious Period


Children are infected whilst they have the symptoms and for a few days afterwards (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012). 



Blood tests and white blood cell counts are done to diagnose shigellosis. Other visual tests include checking blood pressure, feeling the abdominal region for tenderness and checking stools for white blood cells (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).

Shigellosis is a serious illness and you should seek medical advice immediately. Because diarrhea symptoms usually last for 2 to 7 days; it is imperative that you replace fluid loss with electrolytes.

Antibiotics may be given to reduce the length of time and severity of the infection and also to help prevent the bacterium from spreading to others (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).




Source for image:

National Health and Medical Research Council (2012). Staying Healthy: Preventing diseases in early childhood education and care services 5th Edn. NHMRC, Canberra.

Talaro, K. (2008). Foundation in Microbiology. 6th Ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Read 2596 times Last modified on Sunday, 18 August 2013 09:59

Leave a comment