Shigella outbreak

By July this year, reported notifications of shigellosis had already surpassed total 2015 notifications. Several cases have resulted in hospitalisation and there is concern that the outbreak could worsen as people with mild symptoms may not see their doctor, and so remain infectious for longer, spreading the infection further (Shigella can develop antibiotic resistance).

Shigella is a bacteria that causes a bowel infection. Symptoms include diarrhoea, fever and nausea. Symptoms appear any time between 12 hours and four days after exposure and generally last between four and seven days.

Areas of Sydney that have seen particular rises in cases of shigella include parts of the inner city as well as western and northern Sydney.

NSW Health Medical Epidemiologist Dr Christine Selvey says, "The most effective way of reducing the risk of contracting shigellosis is to wash hands thoroughly after any sexual activity, after touching equipment like used condoms and sex toys, after going to the toilet, and before handling food".