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Shigella Infection, Bacillary Dysentery, Marlow Syndrome

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. It can cause intestinal damage and disease after it invades the jejunum and illeum of chickens. Shigellosis is characterized by the development of bloody and purulent droppings, resulting from severe inflammatory colitis.

Humans and other primates are the historic natural hosts of Shigella, however reports of new horses have increasingly emerged, also reported in piglets, calves, rabbits and monkeys. In 2004, Shigella was first reported in chickens in China. There are several different strains of Shigella, each resulting in different clinical signs. Clinical signs of infection reported in chickens that were experimentally infected with Shigella include non-transient hypothermia, loss of appetite, severe distress and impending death.

Shigella is transmitted primarily through direct or indirect contact with the feces of infected birds.

Clinical Signs

Severe depression
Droopy wings
Retracted heads
Ruffled feathers
Loss of appetite
Pasting of vent feathers


Supportive care: Isolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.


Scientific References