Objective: To restate the epidemiological importance of Shigella in acute diarrhea with blood, providing an overview of the treatment and stressing the need for the correct indication of antibiotic therapy.
Sources of data: A search was carried out in the Medline and Scopus databases, in addition to the World Health Organization scientific documents and guidelines, identifying review articles and original articles considered relevant to substantiate the narrative review.
Synthesis of data: Different pathogens have been associated with acute diarrhea with blood; Shigella was the most frequently identified. The manifestations of shigellosis in healthy individuals are usually of moderate intensity and disappear within a few days. There may be progression to overt dysentery with blood and mucus, lower abdominal pain, and tenesmus. Conventional bacterial stool culture is the gold standard for the etiological diagnosis; however, new molecular tests have been developed to allow the physician to initiate targeted antibacterial treatment, addressing a major current concern caused by the increasing resistance of Shigella. Prevention strategies include breastfeeding, hygiene measures, health education, water treatment, and the potential use of vaccines.
Conclusions: Acute diarrhea is an important cause of mortality in children under 5 years and shigellosis is the leading cause of acute diarrhea with blood worldwide. The current concern is the increase in microbial resistance to the recommended antibiotics, which brings an additional difficulty to therapeutic management. Although no vaccine is yet available against Shigella, several candidates are undergoing clinical trials, and this may be the most cost-effective preventative measure in future.
Keywords: Acute diarrhea; Bacterial resistance; Diarreia aguda; Disenteria; Dysentery; Resistência bacteriana; Shigella; Tratamento; Treatment.
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