Shigella infection (shigellosis) is an intestinal disease caused by a family of bacteria known as shigella. The main sign of shigella infection is diarrhea, which often is bloody. Shigella can be passed through direct contact with the bacteria in the stool. Shigella can be passed through direct contact with the bacteria in the stool. For example, this can happen in a child care setting when staff members don't wash their hands well enough after changing diapers or helping toddlers with toilet training. Shigella bacteria also can be passed in contaminated food or by drinking or swimming in contaminated water.
Combating dehydration is the main goal of treatment for most cases of shigellosis. It is important to drink plenty of fluids, especially electrolyte solutions, many of which are available over the counter. It is usually not advisable to take any type of medication to relieve your diarrhea, as this will keep the bacteria in your system longer and may make the infection worse. Moderate-to-severe infection may require medical treatment. Medical treatment will usually include antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria from your digestive tract. Your doctor may test your stool to confirm that Shigella is the source of the infection. Confirmation of Shigella helps your doctor choose the right medication to fight shigellosis.