Finland is the latest country to report Shigella infections in people returning from Cape Verde.

The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) recorded eight patients with shigellosis in November and December 2022, with a history of travel to Cape Verde.

Based on typing, the strains in five of these cases match those found in other European countries. Almost all Shigella infections found in Finland originate from abroad.

During 2022, more travel-related shigellosis cases than usual were recorded in several European countries. Patients are linked by trips to Cape Verde.

Related cases have been reported by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark, and Portugal.

In Sweden, 30 infections have been identified since mid-November. Analysis of bacterial isolates found some are Shigella sonnei and others are Shigella boydii. Infections with different pathogens, such as E. coli, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia, have also been noted.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is investigating with national authorities the source of infection of the travel-related cases of shigellosis in Cape Verde.

Illness claims
Holiday Claims Bureau and Hudgell Solicitors in the UK are representing people with confirmed Shigella infection linked to hotels in Cape Verde. Holiday Claims Bureau also has clients who contracted Salmonella and E. coli infections following stays at the same hotels.

More than 500 people have asked lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate illnesses linked to trips to Cape Verde. Holidaymakers stayed at seven hotels in the country. People have tested positive for bacterial pathogens including Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, and E. coli. All had been on holidays booked through tour operator TUI.

Shigella bacteria cause an infection called shigellosis. Most infected people have diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually begin a couple of days after infection and last a week. Travelers may be exposed to the bacteria through contaminated food, water, or surfaces. Those with a Shigella infection can spread it to others for several weeks. People should wash their hands with soap and water before preparing and eating food to help control the pathogen.

Finally, THL and Ruokavirasto (Finnish Food Authority) are helping to organize a training course on investigating food- and waterborne outbreaks in May and June.

An online session is scheduled on May 25 to 26 and in-person training is planned in Tuusula on June 6 to 8. It will consist of lectures and practical exercises and is intended as further education for those part of outbreak control groups, food inspectors, doctors, and veterinarians.

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