Health officials in Kerala convened emergency meetings and kicked in preventive measures after six cases of shigella infection and nearly two dozen suspected cases were detected within the urban corporation limits.
Shigellosis, or shigella infection, is a contagious intestinal infection caused by a genus of bacteria known as shigella.
The bacteria is one of the prime pathogens responsible for causing diarrhea, fluctuating between moderate and severe symptoms, especially in children in African and South Asian regions.
The bacterium, after entering the body through ingestion, attacks the epithelial lining of the colon resulting in inflammation of the cells and subsequently the destruction of the cells in severe cases. It takes only a small number of shigella bacteria to enter a person’s system and get her sick.
Spread through contaminated food and water is the most common form of transmission across the world.
The common symptoms are diarrhea (often bloody and painful), stomach pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. There have been cases too where people don’t experience any signs of the bacterial infection.
The patient may experience diarrhea lasting for a couple of days and then the symptoms subsiding gradually. If diarrhea persists for more than a week and if the patient suffers from fever and stomach pain, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Complications don’t usually occur in most cases.
In certain cases, however, if left undiagnosed even after a week of severe symptoms, shigella can cause complications like seizures, rectal prolapse and reactive arthritis, resulting in even death.
It is important to wash hands with soap especially after dealing with a child’s diaper and before preparing/eating food.
While swimming in pools and lakes, it’s advisable not to swallow water. One can avoid eating contaminated food especially from the street in unhygienic conditions. Drinking boiled water is advised.