People who have symptoms of diarrhea usually recover completely, although their bowel habits may not return to normal until several months later.
S. dysenteriae type 1 bacteria produce Shiga toxin (poison), which can severely damage the lining of your intestines and kidneys. This toxin can cause life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can lead to kidney failure. In North America, HUS is the most common cause of acute kidney failure in children, who are particularly prone to this complication. This condition is usually treated in an intensive care unit of a hospital, sometimes with blood transfusions and kidney dialysis.
About 8 percent of people with HUS have other lifelong complications, such as high blood pressure, seizures, blindness, paralysis, and the effects of having part of their intestines removed due to the disease.
S. flexneri infection can progress to Reiter’s syndrome, which can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis. Its symptoms are painful joints, irritated eyes, and painful urination.
Last Updated February 26, 2007