Dysentery is a very infectious illness caused by a germ called Shigella.

It causes diarrhoea, fever and stomach pains and sometimes vomiting. Most people catch it by swallowing dysentery germs which have been passed by someone who is already ill with dysentery.

The germs breed in the gut causing illness usually after three days. The germs can be picked up from unwashed hands, contaminated food or drink or from dirty toilet seats, handles etc. and the illness usually lasts for several days although it may be longer.

You can usually avoid Dysentry by being very careful about personal hygiene. In particular, you should always wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet.

For further advice or information, please do not hesitate to contact the Food Hygiene and Safety Team.


Whilst you have diarrhoea, drink plenty of fluids. Your body should be able fight off the germs naturally but your Doctor may give you some treatment if you are very poorly.

  • Wash hands with soap in warm running water and dry thoroughly, especially before preparing food and after using the toilet
  • Where possible, supervise children visiting the toilet to make sure that they wash their hands properly
  • Avoid close contact with other people until the diarrhoea has stopped
  • Avoid preparing food for other people
  • Make sure everyone at home has their own towel and flannel
  • Clean toilet seats, flush handles, door handles and taps frequently using a weak bleach solution (10 parts water/1 part bleach)
  • Soiled clothes and bedding should be washed on their own in the washing machine, on the hottest cycle

You must stay away from work or school until at least 48 hours after your first normal stool. If your work involves handling food, nursing or working with the young, sick or elderly, you must tell your employer.

Last updated: Mon 30th July, 2018 @ 16:51