• Shigella is a bacterium that causes diarrhea in people. Shigellosis enteritis is one of the leading causes of enteric disease in Ontario and happens mostly during the summer months


  • Cramps, diarrhea, and some people may have blood in their stool
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting
  • Dehydration (especially among the young, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, it can be severe, and may require hospitalization)
  • Death is a high risk in shigellosis inspections
  • The time between swallowing the bacteria and becoming sick usually ranges between 1-3 days


  • The only source of shigella bacteria is people
  •  In order to get sick, people must swallow shigella
  • It spreads from one sick person to another when hands are not washed after using the washroom
  • Food or water can be contaminated by feces
  • Some foods such as shellfish can be tainted by water polluted with sewage


  • Do not eat shellfish from waters that may be contaminated by sewage

  •  Cook meats thoroughly above 74 degrees Celsius (whole poultry above 82 degrees Celsius
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator and not on the counter (use microwave to thaw quickly)
  • Wash hands often when working with food (especially after using the washroom)

Cases of shigellosis must be reported to your local Medical Officer of Health under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.