Background: Humboldt County Public Health has become aware of several confirmed and suspected cases of Shigella gastroenteritis with links to the Eureka 101 corridor on the north and west sides of town throughout the past 4 weeks.

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.

Infection with Shigella is generally self-limited; the average duration of symptoms associated with untreated Shigella gastroenteritis is seven days. In the absence of specific antibiotic treatment, patients with Shigella gastroenteritis may shed the organism for up to six weeks after the resolution of symptoms; risk factors for asymptomatic shedding are not known. Treatment of Shigella in symptomatic individuals can shorten the duration of symptoms in an individual patient as well as serve public health function to slow the spread of disease in the community.

Symptoms: Shigella infection typically presents within one to three days from exposure with constitutional symptoms such as fever, anorexia, and malaise. Initially diarrhea is watery but may subsequently contain blood and mucus. Stool is frequent with abdominal cramping, bloating, gas. Those with more severe cases and risk factors may require hospitalization.