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How Is Shigella Diagnosed and Treated?

If you think you may have been exposed to shigella, see your doctor. By testing a sample of stool, the bacteria can be identified.

People with mild infections usually recover within a few days without special treatment. Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration is usually all that is needed. However, with severe infections, antibiotics and more aggressive treatment to prevent dehydration are often needed.

How Can Shigella Infection Be Avoided?

The shigella bacteria from stools of infected people can be passed to others if hygiene or hand-washing habits are inadequate. To help prevent transmitting the infection, always wash hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers.

What Is E. Coli O157:H7?

E. coli O157:H7 is a growing cause of food-borne illness. An estimated 73,000 cases of these E. coli infections occur in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC.

Most E. coli O157:H7 infections have been associated with eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef. Drinking unpasteurized milk and swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water can also cause infection. Bacteria from stools of infected people can be passed to others if less than adequate hygiene or hand-washing habits are present. Young children often continue to shed the organism in their feces for a week or two after their illness resolves.

Symptoms of E.coli infection can include severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps, but sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhea, a slight fever, or no symptoms at all.

Can E. Coli O157:H7 Infection Cause Serious Health Problems?

Yes. In some people, particularly children under age 5 and the elderly, the E. coli infection can cause a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome. Hemolytic uremic syndrome causes the destruction of red blood cells and kidney failure. About 2%-7% of infections lead to this complication, according to the CDC.

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