What is Dysentery?
Dysentery is an infection that usually causes diarrhea. The infection is often passed on through improper hygiene. One of the most common causes of dysentery is not washing the hands after using public toilets.
It is a condition characterised by inflammation of the bowels. The inflammation results in severe stomach pains. Dysentery also involves severe diarrhea that is often associated with bood in the feces. Diarrhea can be fatal too if the body dehydrates completely.
It is a disease involving the inflammation of the lining of the large intestines. The inflammation causes stomach pains and diarrhoea.
Dysentery is spread from person to person. It is very common for one person in a family to pass it on to the rest of the family members. From there, it can be passed on to numerous people in the general public. The infection can last and be spread for around four weeks.
It is a more serious form of diarrhea, where the stools are tinged with blood and mucus. The diarrhea can be quite severe, characterized by colicky pains and frequent urging. Stools can be passed as often as fifteen to thirty times per day. The onset is typically sudden, accompanied by a high fever and thirst. The illness causes great fatigue and depletion of strength. Dehydration is a serious side-effect, especially if the person becomes too weak to drink enough liquids.
There are two main types of dysentery: bacillary and amoebic dysentery.
Bacillary Dysentery It is estimated that in some parts of the tropics 80% of the children acquire bacillary dysentery before the age of five; the mortality rate is high among infants and the aged if the infection is not treated, preferably with a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
Amebic Dysentery Amebic dysentery is prevalent in regions where human excrement is used as fertilizer; in some such regions over half the population probably harbors the amebic cyst. The cyst is the inactive, resistant stage in which the ameba is transmitted from one host to another; the active form is that which causes damage.
What are the main causes of Dysentery?
The condition is caused by bacteria which usually enter the body through the mouth in contaminated food or water, or by physical contact with a person who has already been infected.
The bacterium Shigella dysenteriae type 1 (Sd1) causes a particularly severe form of the disease known as epidemic dysentery.
The Shigella and Campylobacter bacteria that cause bacilliary dysentery are found all over the world. They penetrate the lining of the intestine, causing swelling, ulcerations, and severe diarrhea containing blood and pus.
most cases are spread through families and where people are in close contact, such as schools, nurseries, military bases and day-centres. The disease can be spread up to four weeks from infection into the body.
Dysentery is also spread through food that has come into contact with water contaminated with human sewage, such as in countries with poor sanitation systems.
Dysentery is rarely caused by chemical irritants or by intestinal worms.
Having sex that involves anal contact may spread amoebic and bacilliary dysentery.