How to protect your kids from shigella? Here are some tips

The disease caused by shigella bacteria is termed shigellosis. :Shutterstock/WeStudio

New Delhi: Reports regarding the presence of shigella bacteria in the food that caused the death a student and hospitalization of several others have spread panic in Kerala. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US, special precautions should be taken to protect children from shigella. Even though this type of bacteria has been prevalent for long, it could prove fatal for small children, say these agencies.

What is shigellosis?
The disease caused by shigella bacteria is termed shigellosis. Though several species of shigella exist, four are prominent. They include Shigella sonnei, which was reported from Kerala. These bacteria could cause serious problems in youngsters.

What are its symptoms?
Symptoms of shigellosis include loose motion in which blood could be detected, fever, stomach ache and a feeling of heaviness in the stomach. These conditions develop only one-two days after the person is infected with the bacteria and can last up to seven days. Normal toilet routine could be restored only much later.

Who are most susceptible?
Shigellosis can affect people of all age groups. However, it most easily infects children. To prevent getting the disease, people having low immunity levels and those visiting poorly sanitized areas have to exercise extra care. Infection can be caused also due to unsafe and unnatural sexual practices.

How is the disease confirmed?
Lab test of faecal samples is the method to confirm that a person showing symptoms is suffering from shigellosis.

What are the treatment methods and drugs used?
A majority of shigellosis patients would recover even without antibiotics within five to seven days after being infected. They may need only rehydration therapy with oral rehydration solution (ORS). However, in critical cases and for people with low immunity levels, antibiotics may have to be administered.

How could you get the disease?
Shigella bacteria can enter your body from areas having poor sanitation and stale and decayed food items. Contaminated water too could cause the disease. The bacteria may be present in the diapers of kids and even on washroom surfaces. Food prepared by persons infected by shigella could also spread the disease.

What are the precautions to be taken?
People experiencing loose motion should use soap and water to ensure cleanliness. Similarly, utmost care is needed while changing kids’ diapers as well as cooking food. While travelling, ensure availability of clean food and water. Also remember that people infected by the bacteria could spread the disease even a few days after they had recovered.  

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.