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1. What is dysentery?
Dysentery is an infectious disease of the large intestine, which causes diarrhoea containing blood or mucus along with abdominal pain.
2. What causes dysentery?
Dysentery is caused by several types of bacteria, viruses and parasites, among which Shigella is the most common organism. Other causes of dysentery are:
-Use of human faecal matter as fertilizer
-Inadequate sewage disposal
3. What are the tests for the diagnosis of dysentery?
The doctor will perform a physical examination to check symptoms of an individual and will review his medical history. A stool sample is tested for the detection of the type of infection. Blood test might be conducted to look for elevation of white blood cells. He may order antibody tests in case of suspected amoebic infection. The doctor may examine your bowel by performing a colonoscopy as well.
4. How is dysentery treated?
Since dysentery causes fluid loss, it is necessary to drink oral rehydration solution (ORS) to avoid dehydration. Treatment for dysentery depends on the type of infection caused. A course of antibiotic can cure dysentery. Commonly used medicines are ciprofloxacin for bacterial infection and metronidazole for amoebic infection. Paracetamol can be used to treat high fever in dysentery.
5. Can dysentery spread from person to person?
Dysentery doesn't spread from person to person via touch. However, if a person who is infected touches food, surfaces or another healthy person without washing hands after defecation, he can transmit the infection. Besides this, infected faecal matter can contaminate cold and uncooked food and water, leading to the spread of disease.