It is an inflammatory disease characterized by severe diarrhea with blood and mucus in the stools. It is accompanied by pain in the abdomen, and sometimes, contracting spasms of the anus with a persistent desire to empty the bowels (tenesmus).
Dysentery may have several causes, such as parasites (worms), chemical irritants, bacteria and protozoa (amoebae). But, there are two main infectious forms that affect humans: Sonne dysentery, caused by the bacteria (shigella sonnei) and amoebic dysentery, caused by an amoeba (entamoeba histolytica). Both forms are transmitted by contaminated water or food. Dysentery is particularly common in tropical countries where standards of hygiene are poor.