Foodborne Infection by Shigella- Shigellosis Food Poisoning

Shigella infection, also known as shigellosis, is a bacterial infection that affects the digestive system. It is caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella, which belong to the family of Enterobacteriaceae. Shigella bacteria can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and sometimes bloody stools. Shigella infection is one of the most common causes of bacillary dysentery, which is a severe form of diarrhea that can damage the lining of the intestines.

Shigella infection is mainly reported in poor underdeveloped, and developing countries where there is a lack of hygiene, sanitation, and healthcare facilities. The mortality rate of shigellosis is high, especially in children under 5 years with malnutrition. The person suffering from Shigella infection undergoes impaired nutrition due to the heavy loss of electrolytes and blood during diarrhea which may lead to death of a person.

Shigella species are classified into four serogroups, namely S. dysenteriae (serogroup A), S. flexneri (serogroup B), S. boydii (serogroup C), and S. sonnei (serogroup D). Among these, S. dysenteriae Type 1 is responsible for causing deadly epidemic outbreaks, whereas other serotype causes minimum and rare disease.

Shigella infection is very contagious and can spread easily from one person to another through the fecal-oral route or through direct contact with contaminated feces. Ingestion of water and food contaminated with human feces are the primary sources of Shigella infection. Children and infants are more prone to shigellosis, mainly in poor and developing countries, due to a lack of sanitary facilities and good hygienic practices.

Shigella infection can be diagnosed by stool culture, immunological assays, or molecular techniques. The treatment of shigellosis depends on the severity of the infection and may include antibiotics, oral rehydration, and intravenous fluid therapy. The prevention and control of shigellosis require appropriate sanitation, good personal hygiene, proper disposal of feces, washing fruits and vegetables with chlorinated water before consuming, and proper refrigeration of food products.

In this article, we will discuss the biological characteristics, sources, and transmission, epidemiology, diseases and symptoms, mechanism of toxicity, laboratory diagnosis, treatment and prevention, and control of Shigella infection. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about shigellosis.