Infection occurs when you accidentally swallow shigella bacteria. This can happen when you:

  • Touch your mouth. If you don't wash your hands well after changing the diaper of a child who has shigella infection, you may become infected yourself. Direct person-to-person contact is the most common way the disease is spread.
  • Eat contaminated food. Infected people who handle food can transmit the bacteria to people who eat the food. Food can also become contaminated if it grows in a field that contains sewage.
  • Swallow contaminated water. Water may become contaminated either from sewage or from a person with shigella infection swimming in it.
Aug. 24, 2012