Vermont health officials are investigating a shigellosis outbreak at the Wake Robin retirement community in Shelburne.
To date, 67 cases have been reported with one third testing positive for the bacterium.
Wake Robin is collecting data to pinpoint the source of the outbreak, and has closed the group dining hall until the outbreak has subsided.
Clinical manifestations of shigellosis range from watery or loose stools with minimal symptoms to more severe illness including high fever, abdominal cramps or tenderness, tenesmus, and mucoid stools with or without blood. Symptoms usually resolve in five to seven days but sometimes last for four or more weeks. Asymptomatic infection is possible.
Shigella bacteria are present in the stools of infected people while they have diarrhea, and for up to four weeks after symptoms resolve. The primary mode of transmission is fecal-oral, although transmission can also occur via contact with a contaminated fomite, ingesting contaminated food or water, or sexual contact. The incubation period is one to seven days, but is usually less than four days.
Shigellosis is usually self-limited and treatment with antibiotics is not generally recommended in otherwise healthy adults with mild illness. However, antibiotics may be prescribed when warranted by the severity of the illness, underlying health conditions, or patient’s occupation.
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