As the Texas Department of Health has reported, there is a Shigella Outbreak in Lavaca County that has sickened nearly 100. It appears to be linked to a local food establishment, Los Cabos San Lucas Mexican Grill, in Hallettsville, Texas.
The Texas Department of State Health Services Public Health Region 8 (DSHS PHR 8) is currently investigating an outbreak of shigellosis in Lavaca County. DSHS PHR 8 is working to identify the source of the outbreak by interviewing individuals who have become sick and collecting food samples from a location where multiple individuals have eaten prior to becoming sick.
Shigellosis is an infection caused by ingesting Shigella bacteria. The bacteria spread easily, and people can become infected by eating food prepared by someone with shigellosis, swallowing water while swimming in a lake or improperly treated swimming pool, or touching surfaces or items contaminated with the bacteria from someone with an infection.
Symptoms of Shigella
Common symptoms of shigellosis are:
- Diarrhea, which may contain blood and/or mucus
- Stomach Pain
- Urge to pass stool (poop) but bowels are empty
Symptoms usually start 1-2 days after infection and last 7 days. In some cases, frequency and consistency of stool (poop) do not return to normal for several months.
Recommendations for Healthcare Providers
- Healthcare providers are encouraged to test patients for shigella if they report symptoms compatible with shigella infection.
- Obtain a detailed food history for all patients reporting symptoms of foodborne illnesses.
- Report cases of shigellosis to DSHS PHR 8 (contact information below).
Recommendations for the Public
If you are currently experiencing symptoms of shigella infection, visit your doctor to get tested. Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics for this infection, but some people may get better without medication.
People can become sick with shigellosis by eating or drinking the shigella bacteria, by touching something contaminated with the bacteria and then touching the mouth, or through contact with bacteria during sex. It only takes a small amount of shigella bacteria to make a person sick. If you are sick with symptoms of shigella infection, you can help keep it from spreading:
- Wash your hands often using warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use a separate bathroom from other household members. If a separate bathroom is not available, clean and disinfect surfaces in the bathroom after each use.
- Do not prepare food for others while you are sick.
- Do not go swimming.
- Do not have sex for at least two weeks after diarrhea ends.
- Stay home from school, daycare, or jobs in healthcare or food service until your symptoms have resolved for at least 24 hours (without taking medicine that would mask symptoms).