Dysentery is a treatable infection of the intestines characterized by bloody and mucousy diarrhea. It is typically contracted through contaminated food and water. Although dysentery can be fatal, as that classic computer game has taught us, it is a short-term infection that often resolves on its own or with medication. There are two forms of dysentery: bacillary shigella or shigellosis is most common, but parasitic amoeba or Entamoeba histolytica can cause the infection, as well. Dysentery symptoms are generally very similar to symptoms of other conditions.
Diarrhea is the key symptom of dysentery, but people with the infection can also experience headaches, vomiting, flatulence, severe stomach cramping and pain, weight loss, dehydration, and fever. Not everyone with dysentery will have every symptom. While the condition can resolve on its own, bloody diarrhea requires immediate medical attention and may be treated with antibiotics, hydration techniques, and IV fluids.
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