Shigellosis is an infectious, diarrheal disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. It is transmitted via contact with contaminated food, water, surfaces or an infected person. The disease typically resolves in 5 to 7 days. Shigella causes roughly 500,000 cases of diarrhea in the United States each year.
Why Is the Study of Shigellosis a Priority for NIAID?
Estimates on the number of shigellosis cases vary, as many mild cases often are not diagnosed or reported. A study of major pathogens that caused foodborne disease in the United States, mostly from 2000-2008, estimated that approximately 131,000 episodes of acquired foodborne infection with Shigella occurred each year, with 20 percent of these patients requiring hospitalization.
How Is NIAID Addressing This Critical Topic?
NIAID supports basic research to study the bacterial pathogens that cause shigellosis. Researchers are also developing vaccines to prevent Shigella infections in humans and ways to combat the effects of Shiga toxin geared towards protecting the public from this diarrheal disease and towards improving the general public health.
NIAID supports research to study how bacterial pathogens (germs) cause disease when they infect, colonize, and then interact with the human host's body. Research might define new ways to intervene, whether by prevention or treatment, in the disease process.
Researchers are developing vaccines to prevent Shigella infections in humans. Scientists also are developing and testing monoclonal antibodies to combat the effects of Shiga toxin. These and other clinical studies are geared towards protecting the public from this diarrheal disease and towards improving the general public health.