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Foodborne Diseases


Shigella Infections

Shigellosis, also called bacillary dysentery, causes bloody diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and cramps. More than 32,000 cases were reported in the United States in 1995. Four main species of Shigella cause disease: Shigella dysenteriae, S. flexneri, S. boydii and S. sonnei. S. dysenteriae type 1, like EHEC, can lead to the development of hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Outbreaks may occur at tropical or temperate latitudes, especially under conditions of crowding, where personal hygiene is poor. S. sonnei is most common in developed countries. While outbreaks have occurred in primate colonies, the only significant reservoir is people. Shigella organisms are generally transmitted via the fecal-oral route. Like EHEC, the infectious human dose can be as few as 10 organisms, making good personal hygiene and proper food preparation procedures imperative in controlling infection with Shigella.


References and Sources: Medline, Pubmed, National Institutes of Health.


last update: November 2008


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