Dysentery is an infection of the digestive tract, characterized by inflammation of the colon wall, frequent loose stools, cramping abdominal pain, appearance of mucus, blood and pus in the feces.
The causative agents of bacillary dysentery are bacteria of the genus Shigella, although sometimes Salmonella, Campylobacter and other related bacteria may be the cause of clinically similar diseases. Domiciliary, bacillary dysentery is most commonly transmitted through fecal-oral route, for instance during care for sick person, through a variety of household items contaminated with secretions of the patient. Among homosexual men contamination can occur during sexual intercourse. In tropical countries the most dangerous are flies which carry the bacteria on food. The source of nosocomial outbreaks can be infected milk and milk products.
All representatives of the genus Shigella produce a toxin under the influence of which the intestinal epithelial cells begin to exude that leads to diarrhea, liquid stools containing mucus, pus, and often blood, similar to the secretions in cholera. Later the toxin damaged cells die, and their death is accompanied by inflammation, ulceration of the intestinal wall and other symptoms of dysentery. In children, general intoxication can be accompanied by neurological symptoms (vomiting, cramps). Unlike amoebic dysentery, the bacillary dysentery is characterized by the rapid growth of symptoms, fever and dehydration. Also, the bacillary dysentery is usually less lasting and does not get a chronic form.
A mandatory component of the bacterial dysentery treatment is to drink plenty of liquids, containing mineral salts and sugar. Antibiotics accelerates recovery, but may develop antibiotic-resistant forms of the disease.