European health officials are reporting a Shigella sonnei outbreak among participants of a Rainbow Gathering in the south-east of Poland.

Image/Robfoto via pixabay
Image/Robfoto via pixabay

Between 5 and 10 August 2018, 45 participants presented with gastroenteritis symptoms, 14 of these tested positive for Shigella sonnei. The event took place between 13 July and 11 August and so it is likely that most participants, which come from many countries within the EU, have now left the area.

Last year, a typhoid outbreak was linked to the European Rainbow gathering that took place in Tramonti di Sopra, Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, Italy.

Shigellosis is a gastrointestinal bacterial infection. Symptoms include diarrhoea, which is sometimes bloody, abdominal pain and cramps, and fever. Nausea and/or vomiting, loss of appetite, headache or malaise can also occur. Clinicians should be aware of shigellosis as a potential diagnosis in persons who have returned from these gatherings and present symptoms compatible with the disease.

The most important measures to prevent gastrointestinal illnesses are to ensure good sanitation, to drink safe water (chlorinated/boiled/bottled) and wash hands regularly with water and soap. Food should be thoroughly cooked; fruits and vegetables should be washed with bottled or chlorinated water before peeling and consumption.

Rainbow events are temporary gatherings of people who come together in nature surroundings and remote forests.