Shigella infection in Kerala: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Recently an emergency meeting has been conveyed by the Health officials in Kozhikode district and kicked in preventive measures after 6 cases of Shigella infection and nearly 2 dozen suspected cases were detected. What is Shigella infection, how is it caused, its preventive measures, treatment, etc? Let us find out!
Shigella Infection
Shigella Infection

Recently an emergency meeting has been conveyed by the Health officials in Kozhikode district, Kerala, and kicked in preventive measures after 6 cases of Shigella infection and nearly 2 dozen suspected cases were detected. 

About Shigella infection

According to the CDC, Shigella bacteria cause an infection known as shigellosis. It is a contagious intestinal infection. People suffering from Shigella infection have diarrhoea, fever, and stomach cramps. Usually, symptoms begin 1-2 days after infection and last about 7 days. Without taking antibiotics, most people recover. 

It occurs in children especially children in African and South Asian regions. People are provided with antibiotics who have severe illness and those with underline conditions that weaken the immune system. Basically, the duration of illness is shortened by the antibiotics by about 2 days and might help reduce the spread of Shigella to others. 

When the bacteria enter the body through ingestion it attacks the epithelial lining of the colon which results in inflammation of the cells and results in the destruction of cells in severe cases. Let us tell you that it takes a small number of Shigella bacteria to enter a person's system and get her sick.

Signs and symptoms of Shigella infection 

The infection usually begins in a day or two after contact with shigella and it may also take up to a week to develop. 

- Diarrhea (often containing blood or mucus)

- Stomach pain or cramps

- Fever

- Nausea or vomiting

If a child or a person has bloody diarrhoea or it causes weight loss and dehydration then it is urgent to seek a doctor. Also, it is necessary to contact a doctor when a person or child has diarrhoea and a fever of 101 F (38 C) or higher.

How is Shigella infection caused?

- The most common way to spread the disease is direct person-to-person contact.

- Eating contaminated food.

- Swallowing contaminated water 

Risk factors associated with it are:

- Shigella can infect people of any age but children under age 5 are most likely to get shigella infection.

- Close contact with other people may spread the bacteria from person to person.

- Travelling or living in an area where sanitation is not done properly or lacks sanitation.

Shigella Infection: Complications

It clears up without complications but may take weeks or months before bowel habits return to normal. Complications may include are dehydration, seizures, rectal prolapse, Hemolytic uremic syndrome, toxic megacolon, reactive arthritis, bloodstream infection, etc. 

Shigella Infection: Prevention

As the Shigella vaccine is not available yet but researchers and scientists are working on it. Preventions that can be taken to prevent the spread of shigella infection are as follows:

- Wash hands with soap and water frequently for at least twenty seconds.

- After use, disinfect diaper-changing areas.

- Throw away soiled diapers properly.

- If a person is suffering from diarrhoea then don't prepare food for others.

- Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

- Avoid sexual activity with anyone who has diarrhoea or who recently recovered from diarrhoea.

- Don't swim until you have fully recovered, etc.


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