The Shigella outbreak declared in October 2021 in San Diego County among people experiencing homelessness is over, officials announced Friday.
The last shigella case connected to the outbreak was identified Dec. 11, 2021, and for over a month, cases have remained at the historical baseline, which is no more than one case per week in people experiencing homelessness.
In total, 53 shigella cases were connected to the outbreak — 47 confirmed and six probable infections. All cases were identified in people experiencing homelessness. There were no deaths.
Forty-four (44) cases report substance use, 38 are known to use methamphetamine.
The County’s ongoing disease investigation efforts will continue to monitor shigellosis cases and potential outbreaks in the region, providing early intervention as needed.
Shigella is a bacterium that causes a disease called shigellosis. Children younger than 5 years are most likely to get shigellosis, but people from all age groups can get this disease. Most people with shigellosis will get better within 5 to 7 days without medical treatment. However, Shigella bacteria can cause more severe illness in infants, the elderly, or people with immune systems weakened by cancer, cancer treatments, or other serious conditions (like diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease, and HIV/AIDS).
Shigella bacteria can spread very easily from person to person, so the best thing to do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands with soap and water—especially after using the bathroom, after changing a child’s diapers, and before preparing food and eating.
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (check the product label to be sure). Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is effective in killing Shigella bacteria. But use soap and water as soon as possible afterwards because hand sanitizer does not kill all types of germs and may not work as well if hands are visibly greasy or dirty.
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