Health A-Z

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Although health experts don't know why, some people take in Shigella bacteria without becoming ill. Others develop only a brief fever, or a brief fever with mild diarrhea that goes away on its own. About 25% of patients, however, develop high fever, abdominal cramping and severe diarrhea that can contain blood, mucus and pus. These people can have 10 to 30 bowel movements each day, along with a persistent urge to have a bowel movement.

Rarely, Shigella bacteria can affect other parts of the body far from the digestive tract. When this happens, there may be a rash, joint pain, confusion and/or kidney failure.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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