Shigellosis, also known as bacillary dysentery or Marlow syndrome, in its most severe manifestation, is a foodborne illnesscaused by infection by bacteria of the genus Shigella. Shigellosis rarely occurs in animals other than humans.

The causative organism is frequently found in water polluted with human feces, and is transmitted via the fecal-oral route. The usual mode of transmission is directly person-to-person hand-to-mouth, in the setting of poor hygiene among children.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms may range from mild abdominal discomfort to full-blown dysentery characterized by cramps, diarrhea, with slimy-consistent stools, fever, blood, pus, ormucus in stools or tenesmus. Onset time is 12 to 96 hours, and recovery takes 5 to 7 days.

Infections are associated with mucosal ulceration, rectal bleeding, and drastic dehydration. Reactive arthritis and hemolytic uremic syndrome are possible sequelae that have been reported in the aftermath of shigellosis.

Shigella can be transmitted through food, including salads (potato, tuna, shrimp, macaroni, and chicken), raw vegetables, milk and dairy products, and meat. Contamination of these foods is usually through the fecal-oral route. Fecally contaminated water and unsanitary handling by food handlers are the most common causes of contamination. Apart from hand-to-mouth infection, shigellosis is transmitted through fomites, water and mechanical vectors like houseflies.

The most common neurological symptom includes seizures.

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