Shigella: The intestinal infection is not deadly in most cases

Shigella Infection

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Shigella Infection
Shigella Infection

In News:

  • Health officials in Kozhikode district of Kerala recently conducted emergency meetings after six cases of shigella infection and nearly two dozen suspected cases were detected.
  • The first suspected case of the infection was a 11-year-old child, whose condition worsened resulting in his death.

About: Shigella infection

  • Shigellosis, or shigella infection, is a contagious intestinal infection caused by a bacteria known as shigella.
  • The bacteria, after entering the body through consumption (of food/water), attacks the epithelial lining of the colon.
    • The colon is also called the large intestine. It is an organ that is part of the digestive system in the human body.
    • Epithelial tissues are thin tissues that cover all the exposed surfaces of the body. They form the external skin, the inner lining of the mouth, digestive tract, secretory glands, the lining of hollow parts of every organ such as the heart, lungs, eyes, ears etc.
  • This leads to inflammation of the cells, and even destruction of cells in severe cases.
  • Children under age 5 are most likely to get shigella infection, but it can occur at any age.
  • It takes only a small number of shigella bacteria to enter a person’s system and make him/her sick.
Common symptoms:
  • People with shigellosis may start experiencing symptoms within one or two days of the entry of germs in the body.
  • The common symptoms are diarrhoea (often bloody and painful), stomach pain, fever, nausea and vomiting.
  • In most cases, the patient may experience diarrhoea lasting for a couple of days and then the symptoms reduce gradually.
  • Complications do not occur usually in most cases. However, in certain cases, if left undiagnosed even after a week of severe symptoms, shigella can cause complications like seizures, reactive arthritis and can lead to death.
  • Reactive arthritis develops in response to an infection. Signs and symptoms include joint pain and inflammation, usually in the ankles, knees, feet and hips and painful urination.
Mode of spread of disease:
  • The infection spreads from person-to-person when the bacteria is swallowed accidentally.
  • Spread through contaminated food and water is the most common form of transmission across the world.
  • It can also spread in child-care settings if a person does not wash his/her hands after cleaning the baby’s diaper and then eats food with the same hands.
  • People should avoid eating contaminated food especially from the street in unhygienic conditions. Drinking boiled water is advised.
  • While swimming in pools and lakes, it is advisable not to swallow water.
  • It is important to wash hands with soap especially after handling a child’s diaper and before preparing/eating food.

Status in Kozhikode:

  • Health department officials said the spread of the shigella infection in Kozhikode has been brought under control and there are no reasons to worry.
  • Samples from wells in the area have been sent for testing to check for the spread of contamination in the region.

Also Read: Concern over new strain, India stops UK flights until Dec 31

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