The Dangers of Shigella Infections
One of the most common sources of foodborne illness is Shigella, which is a group of bacteria that can cause diarrheal disease. Like most causes of food poisoning, Shigella germs are spread by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces, or eating or drinking contaminated food or water. The food industry is required to abide by certain sanitation standards to prevent the spread of this type of illness. Unfortunately, these rules are not always followed, which results in around 500,000 Shigella-related illnesses every year. Those who are infected as a result of the negligence of a food preparer or manufacturer are often able to collect compensation for their losses under the Food Safety Modernization Act, so if you were recently diagnosed with a Shigella infection, you should strongly consider retaining and experienced personal injury attorney who can assist you.
Contracting a Shigella Infection
Even those who take care to wash their hands and generally keep their person and home clean could become infected by Shigella germs by putting something into their mouths that has come into contact with the stool of an infected person. This includes touching and ingesting food after getting Shigella germs on their hands by touching a contaminated surface, such as a bathroom fixture, toy, or sick individual. Other common causes of infection include:
- Eating foods that were prepared by someone infected with shigellosis;
- Eating foods that require a significant amount of contact during preparation of raw vegetables that could have been contaminated while being grown, harvested, or transported;
- Swallowing recreational water from a lake, river, or swimming pool that is contaminated; and
- Drinking untreated water that has been exposed to contamination.
Because these are the primary methods of contracting Shigella, certain types of people are more at risk of infection, including:
- Young children, who could be exposed to contamination at school or daycare;
- Those who travel to developing countries and could be exposed to contaminated food, water, and surfaces; and
- People with weakened immune systems, including those receiving medical treatment like chemotherapy.
Shigella germs are extremely contagious and usually cause infection and subsequent symptoms within one to two days of exposure. Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain. Fortunately, these symptoms usually only last for between five and seven days.
In most cases, those who are diagnosed with Shigella infections get better without needing medical treatment and only require fluids and rest. However, those with shigellosis are strongly discouraged from using medications that cause the gut to slow or interferes with the digestive process, such as Imodium. In more severe cases, healthcare providers may also prescribe antibiotics, although some strains are antibiotic-resistant. For this reason, it is critical for those who are suffering from severe symptoms to be tested by a doctor who can then more specifically prescribe an effective treatment.
The Legal Representation You Deserve
For help with your own Shigella-related case, please call Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 737-201-0543.