Epidemic control measures for shigellosis
Shigella bacteria are particularly likely to be passed directly from one person to another, for example when shaking hands, so people who are caring for a patient with bacillary dysentery are at high risk of infection. Educate carers that a very small number of organisms can cause infection and that strict hygiene precautions are needed when handling the faeces of patients. In addition, patients and carers should understand that anyone with a Shigella infection should not prepare food for others to eat, or care for a young child or a sick person, until a month after recovery. This is because the bacteria continue to be shed from the person in their faeces for several weeks, and can easily be transmitted to vulnerable contacts.
What measures would be most important in preventing transmission of shigellosis?
The measures to be given priority include:
- frequent and very thorough handwashing with soap and water (figure below)
- avoiding direct contact with faeces if possible, and disposing of faeces safely
- disinfection of clothing and articles contaminated with faeces.