July 2, 2022

Shigella Outbreak in Eureka, California Sickens Five, 11 Suspected

A Shigella outbreak in Eureka, California has sickened at least three people, according to the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services. Three cases are lab confirmed, and two cases are being investigated as of February 2022. In a March 5, 2022 update, there are now five cases and 11 more illnesses being investigated according to news reports.

Shigella Outbreak in Eureka, California Sickens Five, 11 Suspected

The cases occurred in multiple households and involve school age children, adults, and one person who is experiencing homelessness. The confirmed and suspected cases have been linked to locations on the waterfront area on the U.S. Highway 101 corridor in greater Eureka, according to an update by the health department.

The update, which was on a video narrated by public health nurse Daniel Tran, states, “Based on current and ongoing investigations we suspect the spread may be greater than our current understanding. Therefore, we are alerting medical providers in the area to consider testing for and treating shigella to help both understand the extent of the problem and to help stop the spread of this highly contagious bacterial illness.”

Officials think that the bacteria has been spread through laundromats in the Eureka area where an infected person supposedly washed clothing that was contaminated. Two laundry facilities in Eureka have been sanitized.

Shigella is an extremely contagious bacteria that causes gastrointestinal illness. It is transmitted through the fecal-oral route. It is not spread through the air. It is spread through contaminated food and water, through contact with surfaces, and through person-to-person contact.

Symptoms of a Shigella infection start one to two days after infection. include fever, diarrhea that may be bloody, abdominal pain, vomiting, and tenesmus, which is the painful sensation of needing to pass stool even though the bowel is empty. People can experience months of symptoms, and this illness can be fatal. Complications of shigellosis can include reactive arthritis, seizures, bloodstream infections, and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

To prevent the spread of this pathogen, if you are ill, stay home from work and school. Do not share food with others if you are diagnosed with shigellosis. And avoid swimming pools and hot tubs. Thorough handwashing is also essential.

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If you or a loved one have been sickened with a Shigella infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.


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