By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the shigellosis outbreak in King County, Washington, Public Health – Seattle & King County report investigating the ongoing outbreak.


Since October 2020, Public Health has identified 117 cases that are considered part of this outbreak. Of the outbreak cases, 84% are among people experiencing homelessness; 62% of cases were hospitalized.

In addition to shigellosis, health officials have also seen an increase in cases of other diarrheal causing infectious diseases among people experiencing homelessness, particularly cryptosporidiosis and different types of E. coli. We have identified at least 25 cases of cryptosporidiosis in people experiencing homelessness, and 10 of these people were infected with both Shigella and Cryptosporidium germs at the same time.

“We know people experiencing homelessness are at increased risk for a wide range of health problems including outbreaks caused by infectious diseases, such as shigellosis and cryptosporidiosis,” said Elysia Gonzales, Medical Epidemiologist, Public Health – Seattle & King County. “The lack of access to medical care, clean drinking water, toilets, and handwashing facilities contributes significantly to the spread of infectious diseases in this population.”

Public Health has not identified any new cases of shigellosis among people experiencing homelessness in more than two weeks, which is also just over two full incubation periods. This is a promising sign that the outbreak may be tapering off, however, it is too soon to know if the outbreak is ending.