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Homeless Face Shigella Outbreak: Health Officials Sound Alarm

Homeless Face Shigella Outbreak

United States: Shigella bacteria has become a threat for the homeless community in Santa Clara County of California. The health experts have outlined that the community might be dealing with an outbreak linked to the disease.

After the outbreak was reported, the local Public Health Office shared a list of guidelines to offer protection against infection. The officials also shared the current scope of the outbreak.  

The data has revealed that approximately ten (10) homeless individuals in Santa Clara County have tested positive for the infection, and around 22 cases are suspected of having the infection.

What could be the possible reason behind the sudden outbreak?

As per the details shared by the authorities, the outbreak and suddenly increased cases might be linked to Guadalupe River traveling downstream from Highway 85.

While sharing the guidance, the Public Health Office of the County mentioned, “People who do come in contact should avoid swallowing the water and should wash with soap and water before eating or touching their face.”

Furthermore, it added, “Partner organization workers who may come into contact with river water in the vicinity of the encampments have been advised to wear personal protective equipment.”

Where can the germs be found, and what are the common symptoms?

The experts have claimed that primarily the shigella germs are present in feces. Common symptoms of the infection are stomach ache, bloody diarrhea and fever.

The common way for the transmission is drinking contaminated water, along with this the infection can also spread via sexual contact. The health experts have also outlined that taking care of sick individuals could also transfer infection from infected person to healthy person.

Why the disease is severe?

According to medical practitioners, the infection becomes severe due to dehydration as the people suffering with the infection can suffer from dehydration. That is why, the experts have asked the infected individual to drink plenty of fluids – while suffering from the illness.

Roots of Shigella outbreaks in the US!

The official data has mentioned that Shigella outbreaks are seen in the cities of the United States which are densely population with homeless communities. In 2023, approximately 227 cases of shigella was reported in Portland and Oregon – out of which 44 were reported only during the month of December.

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