Dysentery

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Dysentery (formerly known as flux or the bloody flux) is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the feces[1] with fever and abdominal pain.[2] If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.

Contents

Signs and symptoms

In developed countries, dysentery is generally a mild illness, causing mild symptoms normally consisting of mild stomach pains and frequent passage of feces. Symptoms normally present themselves after one to three days and are usually no longer present after a week. The frequency of urges to defecate, the volume of feces passed, and the presence of mucus and/or blood depends on the pathogen that is causing the disease. Temporary lactose intolerance can occur, which, in the most severe cases, can last for years. In some caustic occasions, vomiting of blood, severe abdominal pain, fever, shock and delirium can all be symptoms.[3][4][5][6]

Causes

Dysentery is usually caused by a bacterial or protozoan infection or infestation of parasitic worms, but can also be caused by a chemical irritant or viral infection. The most common cause of the disease in developed countries is infection with a bacillus of the Shigella group (causing bacillary dysentery). Infection with the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica can cause amoebic dysentery. This is more common in tropical areas, although has been found throughout the Gulf Coast of the United States, as well as Australia and parts of rural Canada.[7]

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