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What is the cause of dysentery?

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Bacillary Dysentery is a shigellosis infection in a severe form. The illness is associated with a kind of bacteria called Shigella baceteria, from the Enterobacteriaceae family. It causes a painful infection in the intestine caused by parasites or bacteria. Dysentery is of two types, out of which one is caused by a microscopic, single celled parasite called intestinal amoebiasis or amoebic dysentery. The bacteria penetrate into the intestinal lining causing severe diarrhea containing pus and blood, intestinal ulcerations and swelling.

What causes bacillary dysentery?

Bacillary Dysentery is the second type of dysentery caused by invasive bacteria. The bacteria or parasite spreads due to poor sanitation and hygiene and water and food contaminated with infected feces of humans. Children are more likely to contract Bacillary Dysentery. The disease can also get transmitted with sexual or oral contact with an infected person.

How is dysentery transmitted to humans?

Within 2-10 days of infection, the symptoms begin. Bacillary dysentery is also defined as diarrhea in which mucus, pus and blood is accompanied by pain in the abdomen usually. Other symptoms include dehydration, sudden onset of chills and fever, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, bloating, cramps, fatigue, flatulence, headache, urgency to pass stool, loss of weight and a feeling of incomplete emptying. Other symptoms include firmer and milder diarrhea, cramps in the abdomen and feeling anemic and weak. The dysentery may last for 4-8 days and in severe cases for 3-6 weeks. Complications include convulsions, delirium and even coma. Severe infection must be treated quickly or within 24 hour it could prove fatal.

Diagnosis includes taking stool samples and blood tests. To treat Bacillary dysentery, antibiotics like azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and ofloxacin are administered by the doctor. In some travelers suffering from the dysentery, Bismuth Subsalicylate can prove helpful. To prevent dehydration and slow down bowel movements, Loperamide an anti diarrheal medication is also administered. Diarrhea causes fluid loss and hence bottled water, juices, soft drinks are helpful. Electrolytes like sucrose, salt and potassium are useful to treat severe diarrhea. Oral rehydration solutions are also available commercially.

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