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Shigellosis - Topic Overview

How can you prevent shigellosis?

You can help prevent the spread of shigellosis by washing your hands frequently and carefully with soap, especially if you work or spend time in day care centers or with children who are not completely toilet trained. When possible, keep young children with shigellosis who are still in diapers away from uninfected children.

If your child is in diapers and has shigellosis, after diaper changing, wipe the changing area with a disinfectant such as diluted household bleach and put the diapers in a closed-lid garbage can. Then wash your hands with soap and warm water.

People who have shigellosis should not prepare food or pour water for others. Shigella are present in the diarrhea of people with shigellosis and for 1 or 2 weeks after symptoms have stopped.

Does shigellosis have any complications?

After shigellosis, it may take months before your bowel movements are completely normal again. But people with diarrhea usually recover completely.

A small number of people who are infected with one type of shigella bacteria, Shigella flexneri, will later develop pain in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called Reiter's syndrome. It can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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