(COLORADO) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) says it is monitoring Shigella cases in Colorado.

Public health officials monitor Shigella cases in Colorado
Courtesy of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Shigella is a bacteria that can spread by contact with the stool of a person with Shigella, according to CDPHE. You can get infected by swallowing Shigella if you touch your hands to your mouth.

Shigella can spread by:

  • Touching surfaces, such as toys, bathroom fixtures, changing tables, and diaper pails contaminated with Shigella bacteria.
  • Taking care of a person with an infection, including cleaning up after the person uses the toilet.
  • Eating food prepared by someone with a Shigella infection.
  • Swallowing recreational water, such as lake water or improperly treated swimming pool water.
  • Exposure to stool during sexual contact with someone with a Shigella infection or who has recently recovered from a Shigella infection.

Shigella can cause an infection in the intestines causing symptoms such as:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling the need to pass stool even when the bowels are empty

CDPHE says symptoms usually start one to two days after infection and last seven days. In some cases, the frequency and consistency of stool do not return to normal for several months. Those with a Shigella infection can transmit the illness to others several weeks after their symptoms end.

Who is most likely to get a Shigella infection?

Many outbreaks occur in childcare and school settings, says CDPHE. Infection commonly spreads from young children to their family members and other people in their communities because the bacteria spread easily.

Travelers to areas with poor sanitation and hygiene systems are more likely to get a Shigella infection from contaminated food, water (both drinking and recreational water), or surfaces.

To learn more about Shigella in Colorado, visit the CDPHE website.