Bacillary dysentery is an intestinal infection caused by a group of Shigella bacteria which can be found in the human gut.
Infection by Shigella may be asymptomatic or only cause mild illness. For patients who develop bacillary dysentery, they commonly present with acute onset of fever, diarrhoea with abdominal cramps and nausea or vomiting. The stool may contain blood and mucus. Complications include toxic dilatation of the large intestine and acute kidney disease.
Young children, travellers to developing countries and men who have sex with men are more likely to acquire bacillary dysentery. People who have weakened immune systems may develop a more serious illness.
Mode of transmission
Bacillary dysentery is transmitted directly by physical contact with the faecal material of a patient or carrier (including during sexual contact), or indirectly through consumption of contaminated food and water. Infection may occur after consuming a small number of the bacteria. Therefore, the disease is highly contagious and many outbreaks are related to childcare settings and schools.
The incubation period is usually 1 - 3 days, but can be up to 7 days.
Infected persons in schools or institutions should be isolated. They should observe personal hygiene to avoid infecting other persons. Treatment includes fluid replacement and antibiotics.
Prevention1. Maintain good personal hygiene
* Please visit the website of Centre for Food Safety for more information on food safety.