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Shigellosis outbreak raises concerns in US, Santa Cruz County health authorities monitor cases

Shigellosis outbreak raises concerns in US | Credits: Getty Images

United States: Shigellosis has been emerging as a threat to the people of Santa Cruz County, according to the local public health authorities. According to the health authorities, they have been monitoring an outbreak linked to Shigellosis coming from primarily the unhoused community in the county, according to ksbw.com.

The county has reported 27 cases since late January 2024. Out of the total, the health authorities have revealed that 16 have been confirmed in laboratories, and 11 are still under investigation.

What exactly is Shigellosis? 

A bacteria named Shigella is responsible for causing Shigellosis. The infection can spread easily from one person to another person and can make them sick. Accordingly, the symptoms of the disease are diarrhea, stomach pain/ cramps, and a fever.

Visual Representation for Shigella infection

Health experts have emphasized that these symptoms appear one to two days after the exposure. The symptoms can last approximately a week. In addition to this, it is noteworthy that the bacteria can transfer from an infected person to a healthy person for at least four weeks after feeling better.

What does the infection spread?

Health experts have mentioned that an individual can get infected by touching the bacteria in their food or mouth. In addition to this, the experts have outlined that infection could also occur by touching contaminated surfaces, eating food prepared by someone infected, swallowing recreational water, changing the diaper of a sick child, or caring for a sick person.

Most people get better without antibiotics, but those with weaker immune systems can get a very serious illness. If you have symptoms, it’s best to reach out to your regular doctor.

Santa Cruz County Health Officer – Dr Lisa Hernandez outlined, “At this time, the risk to the broader community is low, but people can protect themselves from Shigella by washing their hands with soap and water carefully and frequently, especially after using the bathroom, after changing diapers and before preparing and consuming foods or beverages,” as per ksbw.com.

How common is Shigella infection?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Shigellosis is a concern around the world. According to the Globe, 188 million cases were reported per year, resulting in around 1 million deaths. Along with this, in the US, every year, around 450,000 cases are reported.

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