Thursday, November 20, 2014


Maine is experiencing an increase in reported cases of shigellosis. Transmission of shigellosis is due to direct or indirect contact with contaminated surfaces, individuals with symptoms or asymptomatic carriers of the bacteria, and consumption of contaminated water or food.

The best way to prevent transmission is to wash hands well and frequently. Symptoms of shigellosis include diarrhea, which can be bloody, fever, and abdominal cramps or pain.

To prevent the spread of Shigellosis:
  • Wash hands with soap and water carefully and frequently.
  • People with diarrheal illness should contact their health care provider and request testing.
  • People with diarrhea should not go to work, school, or participate in any activities.
  • People employed in high-risk settings (handle food, provide patient care, work in a daycare) must have two negative stool specimens before they can return to work. These stool specimens must be collected 48 hours after antibiotics end and collected 24 hours apart.
For health care providers:
  • If prescribing antibiotics: resistance to first-line drugs like ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is common, and resistance to other drugs is increasing; determine antibiotic susceptibilities prior to prescribing antibiotics.
  • Health care providers with patients with diarrheal illness should order bacterial stool cultures and antibiotic resistance testing.
  • Providers should remind patients to stay out of school, work, and other activities while they have diarrhea or follow exclusions for individuals in high risk settings.
  • Remind patients to wash hands with soap and water carefully and frequently, especially after using the bathroom.
All suspect cases and positive laboratory reports should be reported to the 24/7 disease reporting and consultation line at 1-800-821-5821 or by fax to 1-800-293-7534.

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