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  • Shigellosis

    The bacteria Shigella can cause the infection shigellosis.

    Symptoms usually start 1–2 days after infection and include:

    • Diarrhea that can be bloody or last more than 3 days.
    • Fever.
    • Stomach pain.
    • Feeling like you need to poop even when your bowels are empty.

    People usually get better in 5–7 days. 

    You may get very sick if you have a weakened immune system, like from living with HIV or medical treatments, like chemotherapy. Tell your healthcare provider if you’re not getting better or have severe symptoms.

    Shigella spreads easily.

    Children's plastic toys float in a shallow kiddie pool

    Just a few Shigella bacteria can make you sick. It usually spreads from an infected person’s poop, through:

    • Eating food touched by a person with unwashed hands.
    • Touching a surface with bacteria on it, then touching your mouth.
    • Swallowing water with bacteria in it, like in an untreated pool, children’s water table or splash pad.
    • Drinking water from a well contaminated by sewage or floodwater.
    • Having sex.

    A person with shigellosis can spread it while they are sick and up to 2 weeks after.

    Kids younger than 5 years and people living unhoused are at high risk of shigellosis.

    You can stop the spread.

    • Always wash your hands with soap and water:
      • After using the bathroom.
      • Before preparing food.
      • After changing diapers.
    • Help young children wash their hands well.
    • Dispose of diapers properly.

    If you have shigellosis

    While you have diarrhea:

    • Don’t prepare food for anyone else.

    If you work or volunteer in these jobs, you can’t work until the Health Department clears you to return:

    • Food service.
    • Childcare.
    • Patient care.

    Wait until 2 weeks after your diarrhea ends to:

    • Swim in a public pool.
    • Have sex.


    For providers