Shigellosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Most people get shigellosis after having close contact with an infected person, eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or touching contaminated surfaces and putting their finger in their mouth. Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain, and symptoms usually last up to 7 days. Shigella germs spread easily from person to person. The best way to prevent this spread is to practice good hygiene, including frequent handwashing.
- Shigella infections cause about 450,000 cases of diarrhea in the United States each year, and treatment results in an estimated $93 million in direct annual medical costs.
- Most people get shigellosis after having close contact with an infected person or by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Symptoms of shigellosis include diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain, and symptoms usually last up to 7 days.
- Frequent handwashing with soap and water is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from Shigella infection.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating or preparing food for others, and after using the toilet or changing diapers. Make handwashing a family activity by teaching kids when and how to wash their hands too.
- Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or swimming pools.
- Avoid sexual activity with those who have diarrhea or recently (several weeks) recovered from shigellosis. Use barriers during sex, such as condoms and dental dams, and wash your hands, genitals, and anus before and after sexual activity.
- When traveling internationally, stick to safe eating and drinking habits, and wash hands often with soap and water.
- Follow recommended steps to safe and healthy diapering.
- Clean up any leaks or spills of diaper contents right away.
- Throw away soiled diapers in a covered, lined garbage can.
- Wash your hands (and the child’s hands) immediately after the diapers are changed.