Hale, Thomas Larry Department of Enteric Infections, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC.
Last reviewed:May 2021
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A highly contagious intestinal disease, also known as shigellosis, caused by rod-shaped bacteria of the genus Shigella. Bacillary dysentery, which also is referred to as shigellosis, is a significant intestinal infection. Rod-shaped bacteria of the genus Shigella are the causative agents of this disease (see illustration). Transmission occurs by the fecal–oral route. The global disease burden is estimated as 80–165 million cases annually. At least 600,000 deaths per year are attributed to bacillary dysentery. The disease is particularly prevalent in children living in less industrialized countries. Occasionally, common-source outbreaks occur in industrialized countries, usually as a result of contaminated food. The two most common species involved in bacillary dysentery are S. sonnei and S. flexneri. Epidemics of S. dysenteriae also can occur in equatorial regions, and these outbreaks usually involve adults as well as children. See also: Bacteria; Bacteriology; Food microbiology; Food poisoning; Food science; Foodborne disease; Infectious disease; Medical bacteriology; Public health
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