What is the Shigella infection that the World Health Organization has warned against?

What is the Shigella infection that the World Health Organization has warned against?
What is the Shigella infection that the World Health Organization has warned against?

There are many types of infections that a person is exposed to over the course of his life, from a young age to old age, some of them we know well and know ways to prevent, and others we still do not know much about, perhaps because they do not pass us continuously and permanently.

This is the case with Shigella infection, which appeared in a number of countries in Europe and Britain, and was warned by the World Health Organization.

In turn, the Department of Health in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, notified health care providers in the emirate, warning the United Nations of the sharp and unusual increase in the number of Shigella bacteria cases. Shigella infection is dangerous because it is highly drug-resistant.

Shigella is an intestinal infection that affects the intestines and causes shigellosis. Its main source is a bacterial family known as "Shigella", and the most important symptom of infection is diarrhea. An increased incidence of shigella infection has been reported since late last year in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and other countries in the WHO European Region, such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Spain.

In the circular issued by the Abu Dhabi Department of Health to health care providers, it was warned that although most of the recorded cases may cause a short morbidity and a decrease in the number of deaths, multidrug-resistant and widely drug-resistant shigellosis is a health concern. the public."

Noting that infection with bacteria that are resistant to different types of antibiotics, leaves only limited treatment options for moderate to severe cases.

How is shigella infection transmitted?

The Mayo Clinic notes that shigella infection is very contagious, and anyone can get this infection from coming into contact with and swallowing small amounts of bacteria from the feces of someone infected with shigella, especially in childcare settings. Workers in these places may neglect to wash their hands well after changing a baby's diaper or after helping infants during toilet training. Shigella bacteria can also be transmitted through contaminated food, drinking water that has been contaminated with it, or swimming in contaminated water.

This means that children under five are more likely to get shigella infection, but this serious infection can occur at any age. Mild cases of infection usually resolve on their own within a week, and if treatment is required, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics.

What are the symptoms of shigella infection?

The Mayo Clinic website stated that diarrhea is the first sign of Shigella infection, and it is usually bloody, i.e. mixed with blood, and diarrhea may be watery in some cases.

Other symptoms of shigella infection include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Fever, nausea and vomiting.
  • Anorexia.
  • Headache and feeling unwell.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Health has warned that the possibility of Shigella infection spreading from Europe to other countries is high, and therefore health professionals should be more alert and vigilant when dealing with suspected or confirmed cases of multidrug-resistant or widely drug-resistant bacteria. Attention should also be paid to people at risk of infection, and travelers coming from high-risk areas.

In statements to the newspaper "Emirates Today" about shigella infection, doctors Ayman Mukhtar, Alaa Khairat, Mai Muhammad and Umniah Salah El-Din explained that Shigella infection can occur between all ages, but the possibility of infection increases among children under the age of five.

Mild cases can resolve on their own within a week, noting that signs of Shigella infection usually begin to appear one or two days after exposure to the bacteria, and last for 5-7 days. In some cases, it may last longer, and some people have no symptoms after infection, although their stools may remain infectious for a few weeks.

Experts emphasized that direct contact between people is the most common way for the disease to spread, and infection may occur if hands are not washed well after changing the diaper of a child infected with Shigella infection and touching the mouth, or eating contaminated food. Food can also be a source of infection with Shigella bacteria, if its plant components are grown in a field irrigated with sewage water, or if contaminated water is drunk as a result of mixing with sewage water.

How to prevent Shigella infection?

Doctors have identified a number of precautionary measures to prevent infection with Shigella bacteria, including the following:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Observe children while they are washing their hands.
  • Dispose of soiled diapers properly.
  • Disinfect diaper changing areas after use.
  • Not preparing food for other people in case of diarrhea.
  • Do not swim until you have recovered from the disease.
  • Keep children with diarrhea at home away from child care, play areas, or school.
  • Avoid children swallowing untreated ponds, lakes, or swimming pools.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse if one of the parties has diarrhoea, or has just recovered from it.

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