At least 60 people in the northern mountainous province of Lai Châu have been hospitalized due to dysentery caused by Shigella flexneri, according to a Vietnam News report. In addition, the outbreak has resulted in the death of an elderly patient in Phong Thổ District.


Provincial health officials say the outbreak is under control; however, the risk of reoccurrence is possible.  Unhygienic habits has been pointed to as the cause of the outbreak, the report notes.

Most Shigella infections are the result of bacteria passing from improperly washed hands from one person to the mouth of another person, often through handling contaminated objects or food. Poor hand washing and hygiene (especially after changing diapers or toileting) increases the risk of infection.

People infected with Shigella may have fever, stomach cramping, and mild or severe diarrhea, often with traces of blood or mucus in the stool. However, some infected people may not show any symptoms at all. Symptoms occur from 1-7 days after exposure, but usually within 1-3 days, and last an average of 4-7 days.