Shigellosis is a foodborne illness caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Typical symptoms of Shigella food poisoning may include watery diarrhea; blood, mucus, or pus in stool; fever; abdominal pain or cramping; nausea and vomiting; tenesmus (straining to have bowel movements); and malaise. Symptoms may appear as early as 14 hours, to as late as 4 days after consuming Shigella contaminated food.
Shigella is transmitted from person to person via fecal to oral contact. In the case of Shigella foodborne illness, contaminated food, which may look, smell, and taste normal, is consumed. Food can become contaminated by:
- food handlers who do not adequately wash their hands with soap after using the bathroom;
- consuming produce grown in sewage contaminated fields;
- flies, which breed in infected feces and then contaminate food;
- drinking or swimming in contaminated water. Water may become contaminated if sewage runs into it, or if someone with shigellosis swims in it.
Shigelosis can spread rapidly in daycare centers, schools, nursing homes, and in any other setting where hygiene (particularly hand washing habits) is poor. Infected toddlers, not yet fully toilet-trained, can spread the illness to family members and playmates. Children aged 2-4 are the most likely to get shigellosis. Infected food handlers, practicing poor hand washing procedures, have been the source of multiple restaurant associated Shigellaoutbreaks.
Shigella Food Poisoning Diagnosis
Shigella infection 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. These tests are sometimes not performed unless the laboratory is instructed specifically to look for the organism. (It is important to discuss with your physician which laboratory tests are being run.) The laboratory can also do special tests to tell which type of Shigella the person has and which antibiotics, if any, would be best to treat the infection.
Shigella Food Poisoning Lawsuits
If you are diagnosed with Shigella, are awaiting medical confirmation of infection, or have a question regarding your legal rights, please see Shigella Lawsuit, or call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274.