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Shigellosis symptoms and causes revealed as UK faces vomiting bug peak time


As winter draws nearer, the chances of catching the dreaded vomiting bug Shigellosis is rising.

Shigellosis is an infectious disease that is caused by a specific group of bacteria called shigella and most commonly manifests in schools.

Symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramping, fever and nausea and it can last up to a week.

Dr David Kirrage, consultant with PHE West Midlands health protection team, said people should practice good infection control.

“Effective hand washing is also helpful in controlling norovirus and flu, which are also in circulation at this time of year and which could account for some of the cases we are seeing,” he said.

“So people should wash hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and warm water, particularly after using the toilet, changing children’s nappies and before preparing or eating food.”



Hundreds are being hit by norovirus winter sickness bug

Here’s our guide to the illness and what you can do about it.

What is the Shigella virus?

Shigellosis – also known as Shigella or bacillary dysentery – is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella, which is closely related to Salmonella.

Shigella Sonnei is the most common type – making up two thirds of cases.

How contagious is Shigella?

Very. The germs are present in stools of infected people while they have diarrhea and for up to a week or two after it has gone away.

Exposure to even a tiny amount of contaminated matter can cause infection.

Anyone can catch it, but it’s more common in children, especially in schools or environments where a lot of children mix.

What are the symptoms?

Among the nasty effects of shigella or shigellosis are:

  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Painful stomach cramps
  • High temperature (fever)
  • Nausea
  • Frequent bouts of watery diarrhea are the main symptom
  • Vomiting may also occur
  • Blood or mucus in your stools

The symptoms tend to last for around five to seven days and usually begin within three days of coming into contact with Shigella.

The diarrhoea can often lead to dehydration as well.

What foods are associated with Shigella?

Food Safety says there’s a wide range of foods that can be contaminated from salads to sandwiches. Chopped turkey, rice balls,beans, pudding, strawberries, spinach, raw oysters, luncheon meat and milk are also problems.



Shigellosis symptoms and causes revealed as UK faces vomiting bug peak time

How is it treated?

People with mild shigellosis may need only fluids and rest.

Anti-diarrhoea medications should be avoided.

Antibiotics can be useful for severe cases of shigellosis because they can reduce the duration of symptoms .

However, Shigella is often resistant to antibiotics.

Tell your healthcare provider if you do not get better within a couple of days after starting antibiotics.

He or she can do additional tests to learn whether the strain of Shigella is resistant to the antibiotic you are taking.

How is it treated?

People with mild shigellosis may need only fluids and rest.

Anti-diarrhoea medications should be avoided.

Antibiotics can be useful for severe cases of shigellosis because they can reduce the duration of symptoms .

However, Shigella is often resistant to antibiotics.

Tell your healthcare provider if you do not get better within a couple of days after starting antibiotics.

He or she can do additional tests to learn whether the strain of Shigella is resistant to the antibiotic you are taking.

How can I reduce my risk of getting it?

Practising good hand-washing is key here.

Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food or eating, after going to the toilet and after changing nappies.

If you have the infection, avoid preparing food for others and wash your hands frequently.

It is advisable to stay at home until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.


Source : BirminghamMail

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