Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter: common bacterial causes of infectious diarrhea

Pediatr Ann. 1994 Oct;23(10):538-43. doi: 10.3928/0090-4481-19941001-07.


Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter species are the most common causes of acute bacterial enteritis in the United States. These pathogens should be considered seriously in children who progress rapidly from secretory to inflammatory diarrhea syndrome or in whom diarrhea persists beyond 5 to 6 days. Furthermore, children who appear more toxic than their state of dehydration would suggest should be suspected of having an acute bacterial etiology for their diarrhea. Systemic, extraintestinal dissemination of these organisms is uncommon, with the exception of salmonella infection during the first year of life and in immunocompromised hosts. In this latter situation, culture of blood and other appropriate body fluids should be considered, along with empiric systemic antibiotic therapy. When antibiotics are warranted in patients with shigella or campylobacter infection, oral therapy is usually sufficient. Careful attention to handwashing and personal hygiene is always appropriate to prevent further spread of these organisms. The very low infectious dose of shigella infection mandates an even more compulsive attention to these latter recommendations when this organism is implicated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections* / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections* / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections* / therapy
  • Campylobacter
  • Campylobacter Infections / therapy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology
  • Diarrhea / microbiology*
  • Diarrhea / therapy
  • Dysentery, Bacillary / therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Salmonella Infections / therapy
  • Shigella
  • United States / epidemiology