By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

San Diego County health authorities reported Monday a shigellosis outbreak in persons experiencing homelessness (PEH) since Sept. 30, 2021.


At least six cases of Shigella sonnei have been reported–The cases were found after the individuals were hospitalized. They are expected to recover.

“Shigellosis isn’t usually serious, but in the wrong circumstances it can spread, and we want to ensure this vulnerable population is kept safe,” said Seema Shah, M.D., medical director of HHSA’s Epidemiology and Immunization Services branch. PEH are at increased risk for shigellosis and other enteric diseases.

Shigellosis is highly contagious (as few as 10 to 100 organisms can cause infection), and transmission occurs via contaminated food and water, or direct person-to-person spread. Shigella species are present in the stool of infected persons while they have diarrhea and for up to a few weeks after diarrhea has resolved.

Shigellosis is usually self-limited in immunocompetent hosts, although complications may occur, such as post-infectious arthritis, bloodstream infections, seizures, and hemolytic-uremic syndrome. In PEH, Shigella can be a particular problem when access to facilities with hand washing stations is limited.

The infection is diagnosed with stool testing. Most people will recover fully without antibiotic treatment, though individuals with poor immune systems can develop life-threatening disease.

In 2020, the County identified 243 total cases; to date in 2021, the County has identified 220.