Dysentery; Causes, Symptoms, & Prevention

Dysentery is an infection of the intestines and especially of the colon which often results in frequent bloody loose stools, abdominal discomfort, and fever. In simple terms, it is a disease with frequent bowel movements along with blood (red blood cells) and mucus (dead white blood cells). Dysentery may seem like a disease of the past but the fact is that dysentery is still very much prevalent around the world. Dysentery infections are however more common in developing nations as compared to the developed nations. Dysentery can even prove to be fatal, so identifying and treating it properly and on time is important.

If you wish to find answers to questions like what is dysentery? What are its causes? How you can avoid getting this disease? And what are the treatment options for dysentery? Then you are at the right place as these questions will be answered in easy-to-understand and simple language in this article.

Dysentery causes

There are two main causative agents of dysentery bacteria and parasites, and when they find their way into your body through contaminated food or water, they cause disease. Therefore, depending upon the causative agent, there are two main types of dysentery which have been discussed below.

1) Shigella dysentery (Bacterial Dysentery)

Shigella dysentery (Bacterial dysentery)

Dysentery when caused by bacteria from the genus Shigella is known as shigellosis or Shigella dysentery. Genus Shigella consists of gram-negative bacilli bacteria, four of which i.e. Shigella dysenteriae, Shigella flexneri, Shigella sonnei, and Shigella boydii can cause dysentery.

According to a report, approximately 164.7 million cases of Shigella dysentery occur globally per annum, of which 99% occur in developing countries. Around 69% of those cases are children. While according to a 2013 report, bacterial dysentery (Shigellosis) becomes the cause of around 28,000 – 48,000 deaths per year among children under 5 years of age.

Written by Greg M. Wilcox

With a background in medical research, I'm dedicated to unraveling the complexities of health and nutrition in a way that's easy to understand and implement. From debunking myths to sharing science-backed insights, my goal is to guide you on a journey towards optimal well-being.