Shigellosis is a form of communicable infection affecting the gastrointestinal tract leading to wide-ranging symptoms such as looseness in bowels, cramps, puking and feeling nauseous, even resulting in grave complications and sickness. Occasionally, shigellosis infections could subside by itself while in other cases a course of antibiotics is required to curb the length of the sickness.

A predominantly summer time infection classically affecting children aged between two to four years and a typically children lesser than six months old.

Shigellosis Symptoms

  • ShingellosisThe Shigella bacteria is the key offender in this infection producing toxins that could launch an assault on the cells which line the large intestine leading to its enlargement, ulcerous growths on the wall of the intestine and blood-inundated loose bowels.
  • Severe condition of loose bowels is what distinguishes it from the regular diarrhoeal form. Generally children infected with shigellosis firstly experience large and loose faeces that could later on be lesser though the bowels could be bloody and sticky.
  • Other signs involve cramping in the stomach, soaring fever, diminished craving for food, feeling nauseous, puking and agonizing bowel movements.
  • In extreme situations, seizures could be experienced, stiffness felt in the neck region, headaches and intense fatigue and feeling dazed.
  • At times, Shigellosis could additionally cause the person affected to become dehydrated and atypically lead to complications like arthritis, rashes surfacing on the skin and renal failure.
  • Those kids severely affected with shigellosis might require hospitalization.

Extent of Infectiousness

A highly communicable form of infection that is contracted when one touches some item that has faced contamination due to the faeces from an infected individual. These could comprise of play things, surfaces of rest areas and when food is made by one who has shigellosis infection. Kids have a tendency of putting their fingers in their mouths which could lead to the infection. Houseflies could also be transmitters of the infection.

It is a swiftly spreading infection among family members and in day-cares due to its contagious nature. Due to inadequate hygiene, the bacterial infection could also be water-borne. The shigella bacteria could be excreted in the faeces for nearly a month’s time despite all the apparent symptoms subsiding, though a course of antibiotics could lower the shedding of shigella in the faeces.

Shigellosis Prevention

  • Regular, meticulous washing of hands using soap, particularly following a visit to the loo.
  • When tending to an infant having loose bowels, always bearing in mind to wash one’s hands prior to coming in touch with other individuals and prior to touching food items. Those infected with loose motions must avoid preparing food for other people.
  • Ensuring there is regular cleaning and disinfection of the loo that is visited by a person having shigellosis.
  • Diapers of infants having shigellosis need to be discarded in a closed garbage container and the area of the diaper needs to be disinfected subsequent to usage. Such infected kids (particularly those kids who wear diapers) must be isolated from other healthy children.
  • Correct ways to handle, store and prepare food could aid in averting shigellosis. Frozen and hot foods to be stored in their appropriate compartments in the refrigerator to avert bacterial proliferation.

Diagnosis & Tests

  • Stool, blood analysis and other kinds of tests could exclude others probable reasons of the symptoms, particularly when there is occurrence of excessive blood in the bowels.
  • In few cases, antibiotics prescriptions are given. Acetaminophen could be administered for lowering fever.
  • For averting dehydration, ORS or oral rehydration solutions like pedialyte could be advised for reinstating the levels of body fluids to normal, particularly when loose motions are on for two to three days or more.
  • Intravenous administration of fluids or antibiotics might be needed for those kids with moderate to severe dehydration or with other grave illness.

When to seek Medical Assistance

In addition to the above mentioned symptoms, kids could rapidly become dehydrated, the signs of which are feeling thirsty, irritable behaviour, feeling restless, lethargic, dryness in the oral area, deep set eyes and dry diaper for many hours in babies or lesser loo visits.

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