Shigellosis is an infection caused by the Shigella bacterium. It is a bacterial infection of the intestines and can lead to severe diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. There is a risk of contracting this in a warm country. In this article, you will learn more about what Shigella is, its symptoms, and how to protect yourself. Additionally, you will find information about the likelihood and risks of getting a Shigella infection in Cape Verde.
What is Shigella, and how do you get it?
Shigella is a type of bacterium that can cause severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and often begins with fever and abdominal cramps. Symptoms typically subside after a few days, sometimes with the help of antibiotics. The bacterium is easily transmissible from person to person, and only a small amount of Shigella bacteria is required to make you ill. Shigella is typically transmitted through what is known as fecal-oral contamination, meaning that the bacteria are present in the feces of infected individuals and can be spread in various ways:
- Person-to-person: If you come into direct contact with an infected person, such as through shaking hands or other close interactions, the bacterium can be transmitted.
- Contaminated food and water: Shigella can be found in food or drinking water contaminated with feces, especially in areas with poor sanitation. Insufficiently cooked food or untreated water poses significant risks.
- Objects and surfaces: Shigella can adhere to surfaces and objects that have come into contact with contaminated feces, including door handles, toilet seats, and utensils.
Is Shigella dangerous?
The dangers of Shigella should not be underestimated. While most people with Shigella bacteria usually recover within a week, there can be situations where the illness becomes more severe. Vulnerable groups such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk. Dehydration can be a serious concern for them, and in certain cases, medical treatment with antibiotics may be necessary. Therefore, it is essential to observe good hygiene and be cautious about certain food and drink choices.
Shigella and Cape Verde
Shigella infections in Cape Verde often occur in All-Inclusive hotels. The primary cause of Shigella infections in Cape Verde is food contamination. This means that the Shigella bacterium enters the bodies of travelers through improperly prepared or inadequately heated food. Food that is not thoroughly cooked or processed poses a potential risk of contamination. This is particularly true for food served in all-inclusive hotels, where preparation and storage conditions may not always meet strict hygiene standards. Similar risks can be found worldwide, especially in areas with less advanced hygiene conditions. By avoiding uncooked food, drinking water from unknown sources, and maintaining good hand hygiene, you can greatly reduce the risk of a Shigella infection.
What to do in case of Shigella
If you suspect that you have contracted a Shigella infection during your vacation in the Cape Verde islands, it is essential to consult a doctor for early diagnosis and treatment. Ensure that you stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. It is also advisable to stay at home to prevent further spread of the bacterium and follow your doctor’s advice. Maintain good hygiene by regularly washing your hands with soap and water, and avoid contact with others until you are symptom-free. If you are prescribed antibiotics, follow the instructions as directed. Be cautious about what you eat and drink, especially in high-risk areas, to prevent recontamination. It is important to inform your doctor of your travel history and any contact with Shigella patients to determine the source of the infection and prevent further spread.