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Barwon Health / Barwon South West Public Health Unit

(03) 4215 4000

Health alert - Antibiotic resistant Shigella

Friday, 14 July 2023

Increasing antibiotic resistance is being detected in infections caused by Shigella bacteria (shigellosis), especially among men who have had recent sexual contact with other men. It is also being seen in returned travellers.

Shigellosis is generally a self-limiting infection but is highly contagious and can be potentially serious.

Practicing safer sex and handwashing can help prevent the spread of shigellosis.

People with shigellosis should maintain good hygiene and safer sex practices, avoid preparing food for others, and avoid settings with an increased risk of onward spread to at-risk individuals.

Clinicians should include stool culture when testing patients for shigellosis, and reserve antibiotic treatment for cases of severe infection.

Local Public Health Units are following up people diagnosed with resistant Shigella infections, and their contacts, to provide advice about symptom monitoring, testing and exclusion requirements.

People with shigellosis who work as food handlers, childcare workers, health care workers, or workers in a residential facility should be excluded from work until advised by the Local Public Health Unit.

For full details on the Chief Health Officer alert click here.

For more information on Gastroenteritis - shigellosis click here.