Shigella outbreak hits Sydney

Shigella outbreak hits Sydney

An outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant gut infection has hit Sydney’s gay men in the last month.

NSW Health has identified the outbreak of shigella in health clinics around Darlinghurst with high populations of gay men, but hasn’t yet uncovered the common source. Up to 200 people in Sydney are assumed to be infected.

ACON CEO Stevie Clayton said the faeces-transmitted bacteria was very infectious so gay men should start taking some extra precautions now to limit the spread and duration of the outbreak.

It’s going to be either basic hygiene -” washing your hands after going to the toilet -” or it’s going to be sexual transmission or it’s food handling, she told Sydney Star Observer.

It’s passed on very quickly and easily. Because symptoms appear between 12 hours and four days, it’s often hard to tell where someone got it from, and friends who’ve done the same activities could get infected at a different rate.

Symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, fever and nausea. ACON suggests anyone with symptoms contact their doctor, but for most people the infection is left to run its course.

This particular strain is resistant to most forms of antibiotics that you’d normally treat a gut infection with. If the symptoms aren’t too bad, the symptoms will run their course and they’ll disappear in seven to 10 days, Clayton said.

For people with HIV the symptoms can be much more severe.

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