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Gastrointestinal & Zoonoses

Shigella

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Epidemiology

Faecal-oral transmission. Usually passed from person-to-person (especially between young children), although food and water contaminated by human faeces can also spread infection. Shigella sonnei is, by far, the commonest species in the UK. Other species are Sh. boydii, Sh . dysenteriae and Sh . flexneri.

Main clinical features

Diarrhoea (often dysenteric, i.e. with blood and mucus in the stools), fever, nausea. Sequelae include toxaemia and toxic megacolon.

Incubation period

Usually 1 - 3 days, may range from 12 - 96 hours, and up to a week for Sh.dysenteriae

Surveillance

Voluntary laboratory reports and surveillance of general outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease.

Surveillance Tables

Last reviewed: 30 June 2009