Antibiotic therapy for Shigella dysentery


Shigellosis is a bacterial infection of the colon that can cause diarrhoea, dysentery (diarrhoea with blood and/or mucus) and may lead to death. It occurs mainly in low- and middle-income countries where overcrowding and poor sanitation exist, and may lead to around 1.1 million deaths per year globally, mostly in children under five years.

The intention of giving antibiotics in shigellosis is to speed recovery, reduce the seriousness of the disease, and reduce the length of time patients are infective. However, some antibiotics can have serious side effects while others may not be effective against the Shigella bacteria.

The review examined both the effectiveness and the safety of antibiotics in treating Shigella dysentery. While antibiotics tested here appeared safe and effective, there was insufficient evidence to suggest which antibiotics were superior. More well designed trials will help inform decision making.


David, K.V.; John, S.M.; Sankarapandian, V.; Christopher, P.R.H. Antibiotic therapy for Shigella dysentery. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2009) (Issue 4) Art. No.: CD006784. [DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006784.pub2]

Antibiotic therapy for Shigella dysentery

Help us improve GOV.UK

Don’t include personal or financial information, eg your National Insurance number or credit card details.