New Mexico Shigella News – The New Mexico Department of Health is investigating an increase in Shigella sonnei illnesses, mainly affecting Lea and Eddy counties. Most of the 36 confirmed illnesses occurred in children and were associated with childcare centers .
Shigella is a type of bacterium, capable of causing an illness known as shigellosis. According to the New Mexico Health Department:
“…..shigellosis is characterized by diarrhea, fever, nausea, and sometimes vomiting, cramps, and toxemia (blood poisoning from toxins produced by the bacteria). The diarrhea will often contain blood and mucus. The time between infection and the onset of symptoms varies from 1 to 7 days, but is typically 1-3 days. Possible complications from Shigella infections include post-infectious arthritis, blood stream infections (although rare), seizures, and hemolytic-uremic syndrome or HUS.”
The best defense against Shigella infection is good hygiene including thorough hand washing with soap and water.
Shigella is very contagious, and is transmitted from person to person via the fecal to oral route. The illness can spread rapidly in schools, daycare centers, nursing homes, and in any other setting where hand washing and other hygiene habits are poor. Infected toddlers, not yet fully toilet-trained, can spread the illness to family members and playmates. Infected food handlers, practicing poor hand washing procedures, have been linked to past restaurant Shigella outbreaks.
Secretary of Health Lynn Gallagher advised “If your child is sick, please do not take him/her to daycare. This will only spread this illness to other children and their families. If you think that your child may have Shigella, please take your child to their healthcare provider to be tested.”
Shigella Food Poisoning Diagnosis
Infection with Shigella is diagnosed through laboratory testing that can detect the bacterium in the stool of an infected person. This is referred to as a “stool culture,” and can be ordered by your doctor.
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