The intestinal bacterium Shigella flexneri is carried by many monkeys. The monkeys, which are non-human primates, often carry the bacteria with no obvious symptoms or illness. Many people who are infected become carriers and don’t experience any sickness. The bacteria are transmitted through the handling of infected feces. Those that do experience symptoms after being exposed to shigella have diarrhea for about 2-3 weeks.
The bacteria itself isn’t life-threatening, but diarrhea can be fatal if not treated. Diarrhea causes the body to be expelling fluids before the rest of the body can absorb them. This leads to dehydration which is what could kill the infected person. Shigella is easily passed from one person to another through contact with the feces of the infected person. People who handle monkeys are susceptible to a Shigella infection. After handling a monkey, hands should be thoroughly washed with disinfectant soap before touching or handling anything else.