Shigellosis numbers on the rise

Department of Public Health and Social Services (PNC file photo)

Guam – The numbers are on the rise, as statistics show that in only four months, Guam has reached nearly half the number of total Shigellosis cases reported in 2018.

In 2018, the Department of Public Health and Social Services received 29 reported cases of Shigellosis. Public health confirmed 23 cases or 79 percent out of that total number.  So far in 2019, a total of 15 cases have been reported with 53 percent confirmed, according to DPHSS.

According to the department, approximately two thirds of the reported cases involved children who have been taken to the emergency room for treatment and hospitalization.

Public health director Linda Denorcey says, “Five of the 15 cases are children less than five years old; another five cases are among children less than 15 years old and the other five are adults.”

As a result of the spike in reported cases Public health is advising the community to be vigilant about hygiene and sanitation, especially for people living in crowded housing situations or housing where there is a lack of indoor plumbing and where contact with fecal matter is possible.

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria. Most individuals who are infected develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria.

Shigellosis usually resolves in five to seven days. Some people who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others.

The spread of Shigella can be stopped by frequent and careful hand washing with soap and taking other hygiene measures.

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