At least 88 students and teachers at a school in San Pedro de Colalao in northern Argentina have been sickened with Shigella flexneri infections, according to a La Gaceta report (computer translated).
According to director of Epidemiology of Neuquén Province, Dr. Rogelio Cali, the affected students and teachers presented with vomiting, profuse diarrhea (some with blood), abdominal pain, high fever and malaise. At least two child patients required hospitalization.
While the investigation is ongoing, the report notes the outbreak may be linked to the school cafeteria. “We can not know if there was contaminated food or not, because the event happened on Friday and we went on Saturday. The food had to be collected the same day to take samples because there is already a superinfection.
“The route of infection is hand-mouth. Shigella flexneri is an endemic bacterium, which circulates in the population throughout the year. As the temperature increases, the level of circulation increases. It occurs in places where cleaning is not taken care of, there is not a good handling of the food or the cold chain. When it occurs in closed establishments as it happened in this case, because it was a school, it can affect many people. The solution is to take the appropriate measures so that the bacteria disappears, “said Cali.