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Shigella: What You Need to Know

What is shigella?

Shigella is a bacteria that causes an intestinal infection in a person when ingested. This infection is more commonly known as shigellosis. It is a problem everywhere, especially in developing countries, but is also prevalent in the United States, where there are approximately 500,000 cases each year. Shigellosis usually is present in crowded places like schools, daycare centers, nursing homes, or places with a lack of sanitation.

How do you get shigella?

Shigella can be found in the feces of infected people. A person can get shigellosis by consuming food or drinking water that has been contaminated with the bacteria, or through sexual contact with an infected person. Some dishes carry a higher risk of contamination, such as any raw vegetables or shellfish.

Who is at risk for shigella infection?

  • Many illnesses are contracted in daycare and school settings. Infections spread easily from children to their family members and other people because it is easy for bacteria to be passed on.
  • Some of the most vulnerable to getting a Shigella infection are young children, but in truth, anyone can.
  • Poor sanitation and hygiene systems can increase the risk of travelers getting a Shigella infection, which is made worse by the fact that some strains are resistant to common antibiotics.
  • People suffering from weakened immune systems, such as those affected by HIV or medical treatments like chemotherapy can get a more serious Shigella infection which can spread into the blood and become life-threatening.
  • Shigella infections are also linked to anal sex as the bacteria can pass from stool or soiled fingers of one person to the mouth of another person, including during sexual activity.

Is shigella infection contagious?

Shigella is very contagious. People become infected with shigella by inadvertently consuming small amounts of bacteria from another person's stool.

When do you start showing signs of shigella?

A person's symptoms of Shigella typically begin between 1 to 2 days after contact. In certain cases, a person may show signs as soon as 12 hours. The illness usually goes away within 5-7 days if a patient rests and drinks plenty of fluids.

What are the symptoms of shigella infection?

Symptoms of a shigella infection include the following:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dysentery (blood, pus and mucus in the stool)
  • Stomach pain and cramps
  • Fever
In some cases, those who are infected with Shigella can remain asymptomatic, but are still highly contagious.

Does shigella cause other problems?

Most of the time, a person can get by with a shigella infection but other times, the infection can cause lingering effects such as:
Seizures.Children often suffer from this complication. Call 911 or proceed to the hospital for immediate medical care.
Dehydration.This happens when your body has a lack of fluids. People experience lightheadedness, dizziness, dry and sunken eyes. In children, dry diapers are usually a telling sign.
Post-infectious arthritis.Shigella bacteria can cause severe joint and eye pain, as well as painful urination.
Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).This infection produces a toxin that destroys red blood cells, which are the oxygen-carrying cells of your body.
Bloodstream infection.When the lining of the intestines becomes damaged during the course of the infection, shigella or other germs in your gut could potentially infect your bloodstream. People suffering HIV, cancer or undergoing chemo are especially likely to contract such infections.

How is shigellosis diagnosed?

Because diarrhea can point to a wide range of illnesses, a stool sample may be required in order to full confirm whether you have shigellosis. Other times, your doctor may request for more lab tests to find out which antibiotic would be the most effective as treatment.


How do you treat shigellosis?

Drinking fluids, particularly electrolyte solutions such as sports drinks that can be bought over the counter, is essential for treating shigellosis as the main goal of treatment is to combat dehydration. Doctors also advise against taking anti-motility medications as this will keep the bacteria in your system longer and may make the infection worse. In cases where a doctor sees fit, he may prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria from the digestive tract.

Can shigellosis be prevented?

The following are safe practices that can help you lessen the risk of contracting shigellosis:
When traveling to other countries, especially with poor sanitation, make sure that your food and water is sealed or cooked properly.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before preparing them and cook them well.
  • Ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water especially before and after eating, using the bathroom, preparing food and coming into contact with a possible infected person.
  • Avoid consuming water from untreated bodies of water like pools, lakes or ponds.
  • Properly dispose of soiled diapers in a lined garbage can with a lid.
Read more

Recent Shigella Reports

Abergavenny is in the spotlight this week after Public Health Wales confirmed an outbreak of food poisoning in the area. The Public Health announced that a number of people in Abergavenny had been affected by an infection caused by the family of bacteria known as Shigella.

The... See More source of the infection is currently unknown and Public Health Wales is investigating the outbreak. A spokesperson for the agency said that “all appropriate public health actions needed are being taken with the required urgency”.

Public Health Wales is urging anyone in Abergavenny who has experienced diarrhoea or stomach pains to seek medical advice.

In case you are experiencing shigellosis symptoms such as watery diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting; stomach pain; and fever, it is important to report it. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

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Marmaris kebab shop. Selling dodgy salad
Reply 1 week ago
There is no evidence. This is just rumour. Environmental heath have found no evidence
Reply 1 week ago
Strange how more than 30 people bought kebabs from there and were all ill the same time. That’s not coincidence. Eho couldn’t find anything because all the dodgy stuff was sold
Reply 1 week ago
100% right my family All suffered with food poisoning after eating from marmaris kebab.hope this shop got insurance big claims coming
Reply 6 days ago
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has announced a multi-country Shigella sonnei outbreak involving the United States and many countries in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA). The outbreak began in September 2022 and has continued to evolve rapidly during November and December 2022.... See More

As of February 16th, 2023, 10 EU/EEA countries and the UK reported and the US reported 221 confirmed Shigella sonnei infections and 37 possible cases linked to travel to Cape Verde, in the image below you can find more details. While the exact source of the outbreak has not been identified, investigations are ongoing in Cabo Verde. It is believed that the infection was spread through food, including through infected food handlers, as well as through person-to-person contact.

The strain of Shigella involved in the outbreak is resistant to trimethoprim and streptomycin, and in some cases, multidrug resistance has been detected. Many cases have been linked to all-inclusive hotels located in the region of Santa Maria on the island of Sal. The most recent cases were reported in Sweden on 19 January 2023.

In response to the outbreak, ECDC is urging public health authorities in the EU/EEA to increase awareness among healthcare professionals and is working with the World Health Organization to support investigations in Cabo Verde. To prevent further spread of the infection, ECDC is recommending that people practice good handwashing with soap and water and take additional care with food and drink when traveling abroad. People with shigellosis should not attend school, handle food, or provide care for children or patients while ill.

In case you are experiencing Shigellosis symptoms such as watery diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting; stomach pain; and fever, it is important to report it. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

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A new health update has been released regarding cases of acute diarrhea in Berazategui. The first three weeks of January 2023 saw 4 adults hospitalized for the illness, leading to a study on the suspicion of an outbreak of food origin. After analyzing relevant samples, it has... See More been confirmed that two of the reported cases had a common history of consuming meat and derivatives from the same butcher shop. Unfortunately, two people have died due to the acute diarrhea cases and one is still hospitalized. The other case has been discharged.

The National Food Institute (INAL) of the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) seized the food from the identified butcher’s shop and the distributor transport (offal) and analyzed the samples, reporting the absence of Salmonella and Escherichia coli.

It was also confirmed last week that two of the cases had leptospirosis. These cases included a 48-year-old male who died on 1/12 and a 36-year-old male who died on 1/17. The other two cases included a 40-year-old man who was discharged on 1/30 with good development and a 47-year-old male who was admitted to hospital with septic shock on 1/20, who presented a good evolution, also confirmed to have leptospirosis. The two people who died have been confirmed to have Salmonella and Shigella in their fecal matter, with no pathogenic bacteria isolated in the fecal matter of the other two cases.

In the homes of the two cases diagnosed with leptospirosis, rodent control was carried out through the placement of rodent baits at strategic points in the house and home, and serological analyzes were also performed on 3 dogs belonging to the household.

In case you experience vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea, report it now. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

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Update February 8, 2022

As of February 8, 2023, 32 people reported becoming ill after eating food from the Tamarind Tree Restaurant. These 32 people ate at this restaurant January 14 - 17, 2023, and started having symptoms January 17 – 20, 2022. No one has been... See More hospitalized and no deaths were reported. The Seattle & King County Public Health determined the pathogen in this outbreak is Shigella. 10 of the 32 people who became ill tested positive for Shigella. 6 cases have confirmatory testing indicating Shigella sonnei, a species of Shigella. Symptoms among those who did not get tested are suggestive of a Shigella infection.

Source: The Seattle & King County Public Health

Update January 30, 2022

As of January 27, 2023, 17 people from 7 separate meal parties reported becoming ill after eating food from the Tamarind Tree Restaurant. These 17 people ate at this restaurant on January 15, 16, and 17, 2023. No one has been hospitalized and no deaths were reported.

Source: The Seattle & King County Public Health

January 26, 2022

The Seattle & King County Public Health announced they are investigating a gastrointestinal illness outbreak linked to the Tamarind Tree Restaurant located at 1036 S Jackson St A Seattle, WA 98104. As of January 24, 2023, 10 people from 3 separate meal parties have reported becoming ill after eating food from this restaurant on January 15 and 16, 2023. Public Health has not identified any ill employees.

Environmental Health investigators visited the restaurant on January 24, 2023. They observed improper food handling practices, including blocked access to handwashing facilities, improper storage of wiping cloths, risk of cross-contamination, and lack of maintenance, cleaning, and sanitizing of food equipment and physical facilities. Investigators closed the restaurant during their visit on January 24, 2023. The restaurant was required to complete a thorough cleaning and disinfection.

In case you experience vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea, report it now. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) announced on their Communicable Disease Threats Report Week 45 a multi-country E. coli Shigella Sonnei outbreak linked to travel to Cape Verde. There are 55 confirmed cases in several countries: Netherlands (22), Denmark (4), France (3), Germany (2),... See More Portugal (1) and the United Kingdom (23) with travel history to Cape Verde. The source is still unknown, the investigations are ongoing.

United Kingdom reports 48 confirmed S. sonnei cases with specimen collection dates between 22 November 2021 and 21 October 2022, with 42/48 (88%) of these cases with sample collection dates since 7 September 2022. In total, 23 cases report travel to Cape Verde and a further nine report travel to the African continent (country unspecified). Overall, 10/11 cases traveling to Cape Verde reported staying at the same hotel chain.

The Netherlands is reporting a cluster of 9 confirmed S. sonnei cases with a travel history to Cape Verde since August 2022. Altogether 22 S. sonnei cases have been reported, mostly after 19 September 2022. 12/13 cases stayed in different hotels from the same hotel chain on the same island of Cape Verde.

Denmark reported 2 cases that match the Dutch reference strain sequenced in a large EIEC/Shigella outbreak in December 2021-February 2022. Cases reported travel to Cape Verde. An additional 2 cases reported travel exposure to Cape Verde (Jan 2022, April 2022) but they were not sequenced.

France reported 9 cases that match the Dutch reference strain during the period February-September 2022; only 3 reported travel to Cape Verde (strain isolated in February) and another 1 mentioned a trip to Africa (strain isolated in September 2022).

Germany reported 2 cases that cluster with the Dutch reference strain and with travel history to Cape Verde. Disease onset September-October 2022. More detailed information on travel (island, hotel) was not available.

Portugal reported 1 case in October with clustering isolate to the Dutch reference strain and linked to recent travel to Cape Verde.

In case you are experiencing E. coli symptoms such as watery diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting; stomach cramps; and mild fever, it is important to report it. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.

Source: ECDC
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Me and my adult family got sick on 5th May 2022. Severe diarrhoea and stomach cramps and fatigue. Had tests after returning home and tested positive for salmonella and shigella food poisoning. | Symptoms: Diarrhea, Cramps, Fatigue See Less

How long were your symptoms?
Reply 9 months ago
I ended up buying a wrap (they’re made off site) After six days of a blur at home alone my Apple Watch rang. My mom knew I was good and came to get me. As I got to the hospital after six days with no food and... See More very few water bottles (I’m told my house was a toxic mess) I told my mom my hands were shiny and I slipped into a 10 day coma. On my birthday at the end after ten days I woke up to the knowledge I had been in quarantine the entire ten days. The diagnostic testing went on for about six days my mom tells me. I was finally diagnosed with after an additional five more days I was released. I lost 27 pounds in those 21 days. I did of course go back to shopping at Sprouts. I however never bought another wrap. What was interesting and enlightening though was the very old man bagging my food, I asked him please not heavy I just was in the hospital. He said me too. He was in the hospital 3 days but confirmed he was diagnosed with the same thing. He said he had purchased a sandwich from a market (which is where the pre-made food is sent to) so that narrowed down what I ate, where it came from, and that if you’re found before six days pass you probably won’t sleep for 10 days in a coma. This took place a few years back. CDC, LA County Health Department were all in on the search and diagnosis. I retell this experience because food poisoning can lead to sever malnutrition. Don’t be a typical guy as I was and just assume it will get better eventually. Seek help. | Symptoms: Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Something else See Less

On Feb 25, 2022, Humboldt County Public Health announced an ongoing investigation of local cases of the gastrointestinal illness Shigella bacteria, after three lab-confirmed cases and two more suspected cases infected Eureka residents during 4 weeks ago to that date.

On a March 5, 2022 update, Public... See More health announced 5 confirmed cases and 11 more illnesses being investigated. They have become aware of several confirmed and suspected cases of Shigella gastroenteritis with links to locations in the Eureka 101 corridor along the north and west side of town. Based on their current and ongoing investigations they suspect the spread may be greater than their current understanding, and because of that, they are alerting medical providers in the area to consider testing for and treating Shigella to help both understand the extent of the problem and to help stop the spread of this highly contagious bacterial illness.

In case you experience shigellosis symptoms as diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, and stomach cramps, it is important to report it. It can help to detect & resolve outbreaks early and prevent others from being harmed, and it enables better surveillance.

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I ordered a bowl with white rice , carnitas and Barbacoa, corn and hot salsa and sour cream and a lemonade. I have been throwing up and I have ran to the toilet at least 20 times for explosive diarrhea. My doc said it seems like norovirus or shigella | Symptoms: Diarrhea, Vomiting See Less

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