Shigella Infection, Pediatric

Shigella dysentery (inflammation of the bowels) is an infection caused by bacteria. Shigella dysentery may also be called enteritis.


Shigella bacteria can easily be transmitted by:

  • Food or water contaminated with the bacteria.

  • Person to person by the fecal-oral route. This means that hands contaminated with human waste can infect by contacting another person's:

  • Food.

  • Mouth.


Typical symptoms of this infection include:

  • Diarrhea (commonly with blood or mucus in the stool).

  • Belly (abdominal) pain or cramps.

  • Fever and sometimes feeling sick to the stomach (nausea) and vomiting.


In general, antibiotic medicines are given to all persons with this infection. Antibiotics will likely:

  • Shorten the course of symptoms.

  • Decrease the likelihood that the infection is spread to others.


  • Give you child antibiotics as directed. Have your child finish them even if he or she starts to feel better.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver. Do not give aspirin to children.

  • Your child should eat normally. However, foods high in sugar should be avoided because this may worsen diarrhea. Large amounts of carbonated soft drinks, juice, gelatin desserts, and other highly sugared drinks should be avoided.

  • If your child does not have an appetite, do not force your child to eat.

  • Your child should continue to drink fluids. Have your child drink small amounts of fluids frequently. Your child should drink enough fluids to keep his or her urine clear or pale yellow.

  • Record fluid intake and urine output. Dry diapers for longer than usual or poor urine output may indicate an excessive loss of body fluids (dehydration). Young children may rapidly become dehydrated if diarrhea continues along with vomiting. Therefore, medicine may be given to control the nausea if present, either in an oral or a suppository form.

  • If your child is dehydrated, ask your caregiver for specific rehydration instructions. Signs of dehydration may include:

  • Severe thirst.

  • Dry lips and mouth.

  • Dizziness.

  • Dark urine.

  • Decreasing urine frequency and amount.

  • Confusion.

  • Rapid breathing or pulse.

  • Anti-diarrheal medicines are not recommended for infants and children.

  • Wash hands well to avoid spreading the bacteria.

  • It is important that you keep all follow-up appointments. Be sure to tell the caregiver if your child's symptoms continue or return.


  • Your child is unable to keep fluids down.

  • Vomiting or diarrhea becomes persistent.

  • Abdominal pain develops, increases, or localizes.

  • Diarrhea becomes excessive or contains increased blood or mucus.

  • Your child has excessive weakness, dizziness, fainting, or extreme thirst.

  • Your child has a significant weight loss. Your caregiver will tell you what loss should concern you or suggest another visit for follow-up.

  • Your child who is younger than 3 months develops a fever.

  • Your child who is older than 3 months has a fever or persistent symptoms.

  • Your child who is older than 3 months has a fever and symptoms get worse.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.