Shigellosis primary prevention

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Serge Korjian; Yazan Daaboul


There is no vaccine to prevent shigellosis. Primary prevention consists of proper hand hygiene, as well as safe food and water practices. Special care should be taken when handling diapers as they may be an important source for the spread of Shigella.

Primary Prevention



  • The spread of Shigella from an infected person to other persons may be prevented by frequent and careful handwashing with soap.[1]
  • Frequent, supervised handwashing of all children should be followed in day care centers and in homes with children who are not completely toilet-trained (including children in diapers). [2]

Contact with Infected Individuals

  • People who have shigellosis should not prepare food or pour water for others until they have been shown to no longer be carrying the Shigella bacterium.
  • When possible, young children with a Shigella infection who are still in diapers should not be in contact with uninfected children.[1]
  • If a child in diapers has shigellosis, everyone who changes the child's diapers should be sure the diapers are disposed of properly in a closed-lid garbage can, and should wash his or her hands carefully with soap and warm water immediately after changing the diapers. After use, the diaper changing area should be wiped down with a disinfectant such as household bleach or bactericidal wipes.[2]

Travel Precautions

  • Basic food safety precautions and regular drinking water treatment prevents shigellosis. While traveling to developing countries, drink only treated or boiled water, and eat only cooked hot foods or fruits you peel yourself.[2]

Sexual Activity

  • It is important to avoid sexual activity with patients who have diarrhea or who recently recovered from diarrhea.
  • Men who have sex with men are more likely to acquire Shigella, and safe sex practices can help reduce the risk of getting shigellosis. [1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2015. Shigellosis - Prevention and Control
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2015. Multidrug-resistant Shigellosis Spreading in the United States

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