Health officials in Texas are investigating an outbreak of infections from Shigella bacteria.

The Texas Department of State Health Services for Public Health Region 8 is reporting the outbreak in Lavaca County but has not released the number of sick people involved.

Public health officers are interviewing sick people and collecting food samples from a location where multiple people ate before becoming ill.

The health department has not reported the name or specific location of the establishment where the sick people ate. 

Anyone who has the symptoms of Shigella infection is urged to contact their doctor. Specific tests are required to determine whether the infection is present because it can mimic other illnesses. 

Healthcare providers are encouraged to test patients for shigella if they report symptoms compatible with shigella infection. Health care providers are asked to obtain a detailed food history for all patients reporting symptoms of foodborne illnesses.

Health care professionals are requested to contact the regional health department if patients are identified. The Region 8 epidemiology department can be reached at 210-949-2121.

About Shigella infection
Shigellosis is an infection caused by ingesting Shigella bacteria. The bacteria spread easily, and people can become infected by eating food prepared by someone with shigellosis, swallowing water while swimming in a lake or improperly treated swimming pool, or touching surfaces or items contaminated with the bacteria from someone with an infection.

Common symptoms of shigellosis are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, which may contain blood and/or mucus
  • Stomach Pain
  • Fever
  • Urge to pass stool but bowels are empty

Symptoms usually start one to two days after infection and last seven days. In some cases, frequency and consistency of bowel movements do not return to normal for several months.

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