dysenterydĭs´əntĕr˝ē [key], inflammation of the intestine characterized by the frequent passage of feces, usually with blood and mucus. The two most common causes of dysentery are infection with a bacillus (see bacteria) of the Shigella group, and infestation by an ameba, Entamoeba histolytica. Both bacillary and amebic dysentery are spread by fecal contamination of food and water and are most common where sanitation is poor. They are primarily diseases of the tropics, but may occur in any climate.
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