How can shigella be prevented


Handwashing is one of the most important steps to prevent shigella infection. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds can help remove dirt, bacteria, and viruses that can cause shigella. Proper and frequent handwashing is essential for preventing the spread of shigella and other infections.

Proper handwashing techniques

Handwashing is one of the most important steps to preventing the spread of illnesses such as shigella. By following proper handwashing techniques, you can help to reduce illness and the spread of disease.

Proper handwashing techniques include:

  • Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Lather up your hands and clean in between your fingers, around your nails and on the back of your hands.
  • Make sure to dry your hands using a clean towel or air dryer after you wash them.
  • Apply an alcohol-based sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water.

In addition to following proper handwashing techniques, it is also important to wash your hands regularly throughout the day—before eating, after using the bathroom or touching any surfaces that may have germs on them. Always avoid touching common surfaces such as door handles or doorknobs as much as possible since these often carry bacteria and viruses that can cause illnesses like shigella.

When to wash hands

Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection and is a simple habit that everyone should adopt. Whenever you think of it, engage in certain activities, or before and after handling food especially, it’s important to wash your hands. Consider these times when you should be extra diligent with washing:

  • Before and after preparing food
  • After using the restroom
  • Before eating
  • After handling uncooked foods such as raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, pet toys or a leash
  • After handling garbage
  • When you arrive home from work or visiting public places like supermarkets or museums.

By consistently washing our hands in such manner we can dramatically reduce the transmission of shigella and other contagious infections.

Food Preparation

The most common cause of Shigella infection is eating food or drinking water contaminated with Shigella bacteria. Therefore, following proper food preparation methods is essential to preventing Shigella infection. This section will cover the different methods of food preparation that can help reduce the risk of Shigella infection:

Cleaning and sanitizing food preparation surfaces

Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces that come into contact with food is essential in preventing shigella bacteria. Bacteria can easily spread between kitchen surfaces if not correctly cleaned, putting people at risk of potentially serious consequences.

To properly clean food preparation surfaces:

  1. Wash soil and grease off of surfaces with warm soapy water, use a brush when necessary (e.g. scrubbing cutting boards).
  2. Rinse the surface with clean water to remove the soap and debris.
  3. Sanitize the surface by wiping it down with a chlorine or quaternary ammonium solution – make sure to follow the directions on the label for dilution and contact times.
  4. Allow to air dry or wipe off any excess solution before using the surface for preparation/handling food again.

It is also important to frequently clean non-food contact surfaces such as door handles, counter tops and light switches, as these can also be sources of contamination for food products and cause infections if not properly cleaned.

Keeping raw and cooked foods separate

As mentioned previously, eating foods contaminated with shigella is the primary cause of shigellosis infection. Proper food preparation can help keep both foods and surfaces/utensils clean and reduce the risk of infection.

When preparing foods, it is important to keep uncooked and cooked foods separate, either by using separate areas in the kitchen or by washing kitchen surfaces, dishes and utensils thoroughly between use on raw and cooked food items. Foods that are to be eaten without further cooking should be prepared with non-contaminated or cooked ingredients. In addition, it is important not to spread kitchen dirt or germs from one surface to another as you move from raw to cooked products; this cross-contamination can occur when utensils used on raw food items come into contact with those used on cooked food items.

It is also important to wash hands with warm soapy water before beginning any food preparation and after touching contaminated surfaces like raw meat or fish; always make sure all cleaning supplies are kept out of reach of children who may not understand how their actions can lead to illness. Finally, never place already-cooked foods onto plates previously used for raw meats/fish; this practice can also spread germs easily throughout the kitchen.

Water Safety

When it comes to preventing shigella, water safety is an important factor. Contaminated water can be a major source of the bacteria, and it’s important to take steps to keep your water safe. This includes:

  • Boiling water to remove bacteria.
  • Chlorinating water to remove bacteria.
  • Filtering water to remove bacteria.

Regular testing of the water supply can also help to detect the presence of shigella and other harmful bacteria. Therefore, it’s important to understand the importance of water safety in preventing the spread of shigella.

Boil water before drinking

If you are uncertain about the safety or condition of your drinking water, then it is best to boil it before consumption. Boiling water for one minute is the best way to kill most types of harmful organisms, including Shigella, which can cause serious gastrointestinal issues. Boiling will also help remove any sediment or particles in the water.

Be sure that you use safe containers for boiling water. This includes stainless steel pots or other food-safe containers made from plastic or glass. Never boil contaminated water in aluminum cookware as aluminum can contaminate the resulting water, making it unfit to drink.

Keep an eye on the pot and do not allow it to boil away all of its contents. After boiling, let the boiled drinking water cool to a reasonable temperature and then put into a clean cup or glass before consuming it. Before refilling your container with boiled drinking water, be sure that it has been

  • thoroughly washed with soap and warm pepper.

This will help ensure that no bacteria remains after boiling and will help keep your boiled drinking water safe for use later on.

Avoiding contaminated water sources

In some parts of the world, direct access to safe drinking water is limited. However, even if you are travelling in a more developed area with access to safe water, it is important to be aware of potential sources of contamination. There are several steps you can take to avoid consuming contaminated water, such as:

  1. Boiling – Boiling your water for one minute kills most common pathogens, including bacteria and viruses.
  2. Filtering and Purifying – Using a water filter or portable purifier like chlorine drops or iodine tablets can help to rid the water of bacteria, parasites, and other contaminants.
  3. Using Bottled Water – Always check the seals before buying bottled water – if it’s been tampered with then don’t drink it!
  4. Avoiding Contaminated Sources – Be sure to stay clear of open bodies of freshwater (rivers and lakes) as they may be easily polluted by agricultural runoff and other forms of human pollution.
  5. Testing Your Water Source – If you want extra assurance about your drinking water’s safety then you can buy a testing kit from outdoor stores that will help detect even trace amounts of toxins.
  6. Staying Hydrated With Alternatives – If all else fails, opt for drinks such as fruit juices or carbonated soft drinks that are sealed in sterile containers rather than risking unsafe drinking water sources.


Vaccines are one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways of preventing and controlling shigella infection. Vaccines can help protect both adults and children from shigella infection, and can even reduce the risk of severe symptoms and complications from the disease.

In this section, we will explore the different types of vaccines available and how they work to protect against shigella:

Types of vaccines available

Vaccines work by introducing a weakened form of an infectious agent, or antigens, into an individual’s body in order to encourage the body to develop immunity against the infection. There are several types of vaccines available, each targeted at a specific type of infection.

Live attenuated vaccines use a weakened form of the live virus to trigger an immune response, protecting against that specific strain of the virus. This type is commonly used for measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. Inactivated vaccines utilize a killed version of the virus or bacterium that no longer activates disease but still induces an immune response from the body to create antibodies against it. The hepatitis A and influenza vaccines are examples of inactivated vaccine types used today.

Toxoid vaccines use toxins that have been modified so they can no longer cause disease but still activate the immune system’s defenses against them; these are typically used for diphtheria and tetanus vaccinations given during childhood around age two months and between four and six years old respectively.

Subunit vaccines make use of only particular parts of an organism to activate defense without causing illness; these are commonly administered for HPV, Hepatitis B and pertussis protection. Additionally, certain recombinant DNA (rDNA) methods introduce genetic material into cells in order to induce immunity; this is typical with some hepatitis B immunizations as well as preparations meant to guard against rotavirus infections found in infants and children under five formerly associated with severe gastrointestinal issues.

Who should receive the vaccine

In general, everyone should be vaccinated against infectious diseases. Vaccination is recommended for all individuals from birth through adulthood, unless certain medical conditions prevent it. The specific vaccination schedule for each age group changes periodically as new vaccines are developed and existing ones are improved.

Infants: Vaccines should begin shortly after birth for most babies. This typically includes vaccines to protect against illnesses such as Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (whooping cough), Polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease and Hepatitis B.

Children: Children should receive additional doses of vaccines at routine checkups throughout their childhood to protect against other infections including Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Varicella (Chickenpox) and Pneumococcal disease.

Adolescents: Booster doses of some childhood vaccines are recommended in adolescence to increase protection levels as immunity declines over time. Teenagers may also receive other vaccines not given in infancy or childhood such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Adults: Vaccines protecting adults against diseases such as Influenza (flu), Shingles, Pneumococcal disease and Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis should be administered according to established protocols depending on the person’s age and medical history or job risk factors. Adults who travel abroad often may be recommended additional travel-related vaccinations too.

Personal Hygiene

Shigella is a bacteria that is spread when people do not practice proper hygiene. Therefore, one of the best ways to prevent Shigella is to practice good hygiene habits. Things like

  • washing your hands after using the bathroom
  • not sharing utensils or food with others
  • not drinking unfiltered water

can help to reduce the chances of contracting Shigella.

Let’s take a closer look at how to practice good hygiene to prevent Shigella.

Avoiding contact with contaminated surfaces

It can be difficult to prevent shigella infection since many forms of the bacteria can survive in the environment for long periods of time. One way to decrease your risk is by avoiding contact with contaminated surfaces and objects, such as toys, doorknobs, and handrails. If you must come into contact with these objects, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

Other precautions you can take include:

  • Washing fruit and vegetables before eating them
  • Avoiding raw meats or eggs

In addition, if you are caring for someone who has shigella, it is essential that you clean their bedding and clothing regularly with hot water and detergent. You should also wash your hands after handling any soiled items or after coming into contact with an infected person or pet. It may also be helpful to wear protective gloves when cleaning up after a sick person or animal.

Wearing protective clothing

Maintaining good personal hygiene is an important factor in preventing Shigella from spreading. It is important to wear protective clothing, such as gloves and masks, when in contact with someone who has Shigella or when exposed to contaminated surfaces. Additionally, thoroughly washing hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or handling objects that may have been contaminated should also be done. Cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces that may have been in contact with Shigella on a regular basis will help decrease the spread of the infection.

Good personal hygiene also includes:

  • wearing clean clothes
  • avoiding close contact with someone who has Shigella
  • not sharing eating utensils
  • drinking plenty of water
  • eating a balanced diet

If you experience any symptoms associated with shigellosis such as abdominal cramps, diarrhea or fever, it is important to see a medical professional immediately in order to get the proper treatment plan set up for recovery.


Shigella is an infection of the intestine caused by the Shigella bacteria. Treatment for shigella infection usually involves antibiotics and supportive measures such as increasing fluid intake and nutrition, preventing dehydration, and providing rest.

There are also a few steps you can take to prevent infection, such as:

  • Avoiding food and water that might be contaminated.
  • Practicing good hygiene.
  • Washing your hands.

Antibiotic treatment

The most common form of treatment for shigellosis is antibiotics, which can help to eradicate the infection from your body within three to seven days. It can also help to prevent you from spreading the infection to other people. Your doctor may prescribe a single dose of antibiotics depending on your symptoms and test results, or in more severe cases, they may prescribe several doses over several days.

Common antibiotics that are used in treating shigellosis include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim), azithromycin (Zithromax) and nalidixic acid (NegGram). If you’re pregnant or have a weakened immune system your doctor may also recommend additional measures such as IV fluids and close monitoring by a health care professional.

It is important to take all necessary precautions when taking any medication including:

  • Do not take an antibiotic prescribed for someone else, even if you have similar symptoms.
  • Use the medication as directed by your physician.
  • Complete the entire course of treatment even if your symptoms disappear because this will ensure that all traces of the infection are removed from your body.

Symptom management

Once shigella infection has been diagnosed, prompt symptom management is essential. This usually starts with increased fluid intake due to the observable dehydration caused by a shigella infection. Oral rehydration solutions are recommended as well as IV fluids for more severe cases. Antidiarrheal medications such as loperamide may also be prescribed, but be sure to discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist in order to get the correct medication for your needs. In addition, pain relief and anti-emetic medications can be given for abdominal pain and vomiting respectively.

It is important to ensure you take all of the prescribed antibiotics and any other treatments prescribed by your doctor in order to properly treat a shigella infection and prevent further illness or spread of infection. If symptoms do not improve after 24-48 hours of treatment, contact a healthcare provider immediately.