WHAT IS IT?
Shigellosis is a bacterial infection that affects the intestinal tract. Shigella causes about 500,000 foodborne illnesses in the United States each year. Shigella is very contagious; transmission of Shigella occurs when people put something in their mouths or swallow something that has been exposed to contaminated feces. This can happen when:
- Contaminated hands touch food or your mouth.
- Swallowing contaminated drinking water or recreational water (lakes and rivers).
- Flies can breed in infected feces and then contaminate food when they land on it.
- Exposure to feces through sexual contact
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Diarrhea (Watery, maybe bloody)
- Abdominal cramps
- Painful sensation of needing to pass stools even when bowels are empty.
HOW CAN I PREVENT CONTRACTING THIS DISEASE?
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent shigellosis. However, you can reduce your risk of getting shigellosis by:
- Carefully washing your hands with soap during key times:
- Before eating.
- After changing a diaper or helping to clean another person who has defecated (pooped).
- If you care for a child in diapers who has shigellosis, promptly discard the soiled diapers in a lidded, lined garbage can, and wash your hands and the child’s hands carefully with soap and water immediately after changing the diapers. Any leaks or spills of diaper contents should be cleaned up immediately.
- Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated swimming pools.
- When traveling internationally, follow food and water precautions strictly and wash hands with soap frequently.
- Avoid sexual activity with those who have diarrhea or who recently recovered from diarrhea.
- Cleaning and disinfecting contaminated surfaces immediately with a bleach-based household cleaner.
- Washing clothing and linens soiled with stool or vomit in hot water and soap, immediately.
- Not preparing food for at least 3 to 5 days after recovering from being ill.