Antibiotic therapy for Shigella dysentery

Added April 10, 2013

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We recommend the use of antibiotics for moderate to severe Shigella dysentery. The choice of antibiotic to use as first line against Shigella dysentery should be governed by periodically updated local antibiotic sensitivity patterns of Shigella isolates. Other supportive and preventive measures recommended by the WHO should also be instituted along with antibiotics (eg health education and hand washing).

Shigellosis is a bacterial infection of the colon that can cause diarrhoea and dysentery (diarrhoea with blood and/or mucus), and may lead to death. It occurs mainly in low- and middle-income countries where overcrowding and poor sanitation exist, and may lead to around 1.1 million deaths per year globally, mostly in children aged less than five years. Mild symptoms are self-limiting, but in more severe cases, antibiotics are recommended for cure and preventing relapse. The antibiotics recommended are diverse, have regional differences in sensitivity, and have adverse effects. This review evaluates the efficacy and safety of antibiotics for treating Shigella dysentery.