If COVID, RSV, the flu and norovirus weren’t enough to deal with this winter, health officials have expressed concerned about Shigella, a drug-resistant stomach bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been monitoring the increase, especially since there aren’t many treatment options that fight against it.
Shigella bacteria are transmitted by the fecal-oral route, either directly through person-to-person contact, or indirectly through contaminated food, water and other routes. If your kid comes into contact with poop at daycare or school, let’s say, and then eats without washing their hands, they can get sick, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
And it’s so contagious because it takes just 1o to 100 organisms to pass along. People who are in close contact tend to be more susceptible to catching it. The infection generally moves through kids ages 1-4, but recently the CDC has received reports of adults being sick, too.
Shigellosis causes diarrhea that can be bloody and may also lead to fever, headache, abdominal cramping and tenesmus (the continued feeling like you need to use the restroom even if you don’t). Generally, you won’t feel well for anywhere from 1 to 7 days, but if it’s left completely untreated the bacteria can hang around for up to 4 weeks.
Make sure you call your child’s doctor right away if you notice symptoms. They probably won’t be able to return to school until they have a negative stool test.
According to the CDC, most people recover from shigellosis without antimicrobial treatment, but you must stay hydrated. Your doctor may try an antibiotic but if you don’t feel better after two days, let your doctor know. Make sure you keep all of your bathroom surfaces clean and check on the sanitizing guidelines at your kid’s school.
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