The Abu Dhabi Department of Health has informed healthcare providers in the emirate that the World Health Organization has reported an unusual rise in the number of cases of Shigella bacteria, which is highly drug-resistant.

Cases have been reported in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and other countries in the WHO European Region, since late 2021 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain).

Shigella infection (shigellosis) is an intestinal infection caused by a bacteria family known as Shigella, and the most important signs of infection are diarrhea.

In a circular to healthcare service providers in the emirate, the department said, "Although most of the recorded infections cause a short duration of illness and low deaths, multidrug-resistant and widely drug-resistant shigellosis is a public health concern." .

She noted that infection with bacteria resistant to different types of antibiotics leaves very limited treatment options for moderate to severe cases.

Sonnei S bacteria can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact, consumption of contaminated food or water, and sexual contact with an infected person.

The most common symptoms include watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, headache and feeling unwell.

The department stressed that the possibility of spread from Europe to other countries is high, so health professionals must be more vigilant in dealing with suspected or confirmed cases of multidrug-resistant or widely drug-resistant bacteria.

Attention should also be paid to people at risk of infection, and travelers from high-risk areas.

She stressed the need for health care providers to immediately report any suspected or confirmed cases of MDR or XDR Shigella Sonnei to the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center through the Infectious Diseases Report - Foodborne Diseases website, and take the required laboratory samples, and send them to the city laboratory. Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, in addition to taking standard precautions and precautions to combat contact-borne diseases while dealing with any infected or suspected patient.

Doctors Ayman Mukhtar, Alaa Khairat, Mai Muhammad, and Umniah Salah al-Din explained to "Emirates Today" that Shigella infection can occur between all ages, but the possibility of infection increases among children under the age of five, and mild cases usually heal on their own during week, noting that signs and symptoms of shigella infection usually begin to appear one or two days after exposure to the bacteria, and last for five to seven days. In some cases, it may last longer, and some people have no symptoms after infection, although their stools may remain infectious for a few weeks.

They pointed out that direct contact between people is the most common way for the disease to spread, and infection may occur if hands are not washed well after changing the diaper of a child infected with Shigella infection and touching the mouth, or eating contaminated foods, as infected people who handle foods can cause Transferring bacteria to people who eat these foods.

Food can also be a source of infection with Shigella bacteria, if its plant components are grown in a field irrigated with sewage water, or if contaminated water is drunk as a result of mixing with sewage water.

Methods of prevention

Doctors have identified a number of precautionary measures to prevent infection with Shigella bacteria, including washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, observing children while they wash their hands, properly disposing of soiled diapers, disinfecting diaper changing areas after use, and not preparing food for people Others if they have diarrhea, not swimming until they recover, keeping children with diarrhea at home away from child care, play areas, or school, avoiding children swallowing untreated ponds, lakes, or swimming pools, and avoiding sexual practices in If one of the parties has diarrhoea, or has just recovered from it.