Explained: What is Shigella, the bacteria that killed a girl after she ate shawarma in Kerala?

What is the News?

The Kerala health department has identified Shigella bacteria as the cause for the food poisoning incident in Kasaragod, which claimed the life of a girl and led to 30-odd others being admitted to the hospital.

What is Shigella?

Shigella is a bacterium that belongs to the enterobacter family — a group of bacteria that reside in the intestine, not all of which cause disease in humans. 

Symptoms: It mainly affects the intestine and results in diarrhoea, sometimes bloody, stomach pain and fever.

Transmission: Shigella is generally transmitted through contaminated food or water, or through person-to-person contact.

– Shigellosis is primarily a disease of poor and crowded communities that do not have adequate sanitation or safe water.

Incubation Period: The incubation period of shigellosis is typically 1–4 days.

Types of Shigella: There are four types of Shigella bacteria that affect humans — Shigella sonnei, Shigella flexneri, Shigella boydii, and Shigella dysenteriae. The fourth type causes the most severe disease because of the toxin it produces.

Treatment: The cornerstone of shigella treatment is the maintenance of hydration and electrolyte balance.

– Antibiotics are also recommended for reducing illness duration and for preventing transmission.

– However, currently, there are no vaccines available for shigellosis.

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What is Shigella, the bacteria that killed a girl after she ate shawarma in Kerala?” published in Indian Express on 6th May 2022. 

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