Shigella Outbreak in Kerala: How It Spreads? What’re the Symptoms?

While the infection is now said to be under control, health authorities and citizens have been put on high alert.

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F.A.Q
2 min read
While the infection is now said to be under control, health authorities and citizens have been put on high alert.
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Even as Kerala battles the coronavirus pandemic, another infection, Shigella, has created panic in the Kozhikode district. Over three dozen suspected cases were identified in the last week, with six cases of shigella infection being confirmed.

The district administration of Kozhikode had called for an emergency meeting after a 11-year-old died of the infection.

While the infection is now said to be under control, health authorities and citizens have been put on high alert.

What is shigella infection? What are the ways in which it spreads? 

The Quint breaks it down for you.

What is shigella infection?

Shigellosis, or shigella infection, is an intestinal infection caused by a bacteria of the same name. The infection is one of the leading causes of death in children under the age of five, especially in low-income countries of Africa and South Asia, according to Hilleman Laboratories.

What are the common symptoms?

The common symptoms are:

  • Diarrhea (bloody and painful in severe cases)
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Is it contagious? How does it spread?

Yes, the infection is contagious. It spreads from person-to-person when the shigella bacteria is swallowed accidentally.

For example, if a person happens to feed a child without washing their hands or does not wash their hands after changing a diaper, it is likely to spread. It can also spread from contaminated food and water.

In most cases, symptoms can been seen within a week.

Is shigella dangerous?

Not really. In most cases, the patient may experience diarrhea for a couple of days before the symptoms subside gradually.

If patient suffers from fever and stomach pain, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

How to prevent contracting shigella?

According to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a national public health institute in the United States, you should:

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially if you are caring for a child
  • Wash your hands before preparing/eating food
  • Drink boiled water
  • Avoid swallowing water while swimming

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