Published: 06th May 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: All about Shigella, the bacterium that caused the death of 16-year-old Kerala girl
We reveal the symptoms, precautions and cure of the bacteria which causes severe diarrhoea in its patients plus how death is possible in severe cases
After the death of a 16-year old girl in Kasaragod, Kerala due to eating shawarma at a restaurant and the subsequent food poisoning she suffered, it came to light that the cause of death was the Shigella bacteria. The health department confirmed the bacterial presence in the blood and faeces of several others undergoing treatment for food poisoning.
But what is this pathogen of concern? How dangerous can it be in terms of its reach? What are the precautionary measures against it? We decode the facts of the case right here on What the FAQ.
What is Shigella bacterium?
Shigella is one of the leading bacterial causes of diarrhoea in the world and causes intestinal infection. The infection spreads rather easily due to the small number of bacteria required to make one fall ill. It is spread by direct or indirect contact with the egested wastes of the patient or even by swimming in infested water.
What are the symptoms?
Some common signs of it include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, tiredness and blood in the stool. One must consult a doctor if there is severe diarrhoea, that is, more than 20 bowel movements in a day.
How fatal is the infection?
Death is not a usual consequence unless the patient has a very weak immune system or if the bacteria is resistant to the antibiotic medicines prescribed.
What are the precautions one can take?
Washing hands thoroughly before and after a meal is a must to avoid infection. Clean drinking water must be ensured, one can boil the water to achieve this, and fruits and vegetables must be bought fresh. While cooking milk and meat products, one must make sure that they are cooked completely and are also stored at the right temperature.
What is its cure?
Samples of patients are sent for culturing to see which exact pathogen causes the symptoms and then IV antibiotics are administered.