Shigella food poisoning is an acute infection caused by the shigella bacteria which affects the lining of the intestines. It causes the disease dysentery, and generally occurs in temperate and tropical climates in areas with overcrowding and poor sanitation. Infection can occur after the ingestion of relatively few cells of the bacteria, and shigella food poisoning is considered the most communicable bacterial-induced diarrhea.
The shigella bacteria are spread through fecal matter and can contaminate food or water or transmit directly to another person through contact. The illness is common among the workers and residents of third world refugee camps as well as individuals that travel to developing countries. Drinking water contamination can occur in less developed countries, but beaches and swimming pools in the United States can also become contaminated with the bacteria. Getting a small amount of the bacteria in the mouth is enough to cause the illness.
Symptoms of shigella food poisoning can begin to appear an average of 3 days after the initial infection. The severity of the symptoms can range from mild to extremely severe. Typical symptoms include nausea, vomiting, acute abdominal pain, dehydration, rapid pulse rate, and watery diarrhea. Individuals may also experience blood in the stool, low blood pressure, acute fever, or rectal spasms.
The majority of patients who suffer from shigella food poisoning will make a full recovery without complications. The individuals with the highest risk of experiencing complications from shigella food poisoning include small children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Nearly 40% of young children suffering from this illness will develop encephalopathy with headaches, stiff necks, lethargy, confusion, or febrile seizures.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is another complication associated with shigella food poisoning. Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a condition causing acute kidney failure. The disease is indentified by the destruction of red blood cells and drastic reduction of the number of platelets in the blood. Experts estimate that shigella food poisoning is reposible for 6,000 hospitalizations in the US annually.
In most healthy individuals, the disease resolves itself in 2 to 7 days. The first line of treatment is to replace the fluids lost through diarrhea. The second is to prevent the illness from speading to others. Antibiotics are used to shorten the duration of the symptoms as well as to prevent the spread of the disease. Anti-diarrheal medications are normally avoided as they can make the illness worse. Even after the affected individual recovers from the illness, the person’s bowel habits can remain abnormal for several months.
Around 18,000 cases of shigella food poisoning occur in the United States each year. The illness is most commonly found in daycare centers, nursing homes, and other similar places. Experts estimate that 70 people in the United States die annually from shigella food poisoning and related complications, with the elderly and small children having the greatest risk of dying from the illness.
The Information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. If you feel that you or someone you know has food poisoning, seek medical attention immediately by visiting your doctor of by dialing 911.
Do I have a Shigella Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
The Personal Injury Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in food poisoning lawsuits. We are handling individual and group outbreak litigation nationwide and currently accepting new food poisoning cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of food poisoning, you should contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries by filing a food poisoning lawsuit and we can help.