Health minister KK Shailaja has said the department is looking into the situation to find out the main source of the infection. (Photo: ANI)
Health minister KK Shailaja has said the department is looking into the situation to find out the main source of the infection. (Photo: ANI)

What is shigella infection reported in Kerala? All you need to know

Shigella bacteria spread from one person to another person through various means — even after the infected person is cured of diarrhoea.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 19, 2020 10:28 PM IST

As Kerala is battling with Covid-19, a new bacterial infection has been reported from the state spreading fear as the infection can be fatal and is believed to be contagious.

An 11-year-old boy has died of the infection and many are reporting the symptoms.

Here is all you need to know about this new infection in Kerala:

1. The name of the bacteria is Shigella and the infection is known as shigellosis.

2. Symptoms include diarrhoea, fever, stomach cramps which can last for seven days. Treatment is generally done through antibiotics, which can shorten the duration of the illness.

3. Shigella bacteria spread from one person to another person through various means — even after the infected person is cured of diarrhoea.

4. It takes a small number of bacteria to make someone ill.

5. Contaminated food, water are the source of the infection.

6. The presence of the bacteria is generally confirmed through a stool test.

7. Like in the case of Covid-19, this infection can be prevented by maintaining proper hygiene. Washing hands properly is known to ward off the bacteria.

8. The bacteria spreads not only through surfaces — touching an infected surface and then touching the mouth — but also from eating food prepared by someone carrying the infection.

9. Though people of all ages can get infected, children are more susceptible to the infection. In Kerala too, those who have reported the infection are mostly children. People who are travelling are also vulnerable to the infection as they may get exposed to contaminated water during travelling. Sexual contact with those infected can also cause the disease.

10. This is not the first time the infection has been reported in Kerala. In 2019, the bacteria was found in Koyilandy following which the schools were asked to monitor mid-day meal hygiene. 40 children of the West Lower Primary School, Keezhppayyur, were hospitalised in 2019, with similar symptoms.

As health officials in Kerala are looking into the present outbreak and are sanitising the local water bodies, it has been found that those who are presently suffering from the disease somehow came in touch with the 11-year-old boy. They had either attended the boy’s funeral or had food from his house.

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