New Mexico Department of Health
Our mission is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico.
Paul Rhien
505-470-2290 Office

Investigating Shigellosis in Three Southeast Counties

November 15, 2016 - Emerging Infections - Alert

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. This Centers for Disease Control web page includes details about Shigella (what it is, prevention and control, publications, data, and statistics). The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is investigating a recent increase in cases of Shigella sonnei (a.k.a., Shigella or Shigellosis) in Lea, Chaves, and Eddy counties. Shigellosis is a bacterial disease that causes diarrhea, fever, nausea, and sometimes vomiting, cramps, and toxemia (blood poisoning from toxins produced by the bacteria).

Since May 2016, 140 confirmed and probable cases have been identified in the three southeastern counties. Most cases since the beginning of the outbreak have been among preschool and school-aged children. However, recent data indicate that the infection has begun to affect the wider community. NMDOH encourages individuals with symptoms to get tested if they are experiencing signs and symptoms of Shigella infection.

Oftentimes, diarrhea will contain blood and mucus. The time between exposure to Shigella and symptom onset varies from one to several days, but is typically between one and three days. Possible complications from Shigella infections include post-infectious arthritis, blood stream infections (although rare), seizures, and hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening disease than can cause kidney damage.

Shigella is extremely contagious. An infected person can shed the bacteria in their stool when they have diarrhea and up to a month after the diarrhea has gone away. Shigella can be spread in the following ways:

“If your child is sick, we advise you to not take your child to daycare or school. This will only spread this illness to other children and their families,” advises Lynn Gallagher, Secretary of Health.  “If you think that your child may have Shigella, please take your child to their healthcare provider to be tested.”

You can decrease your chance of coming into contact with Shigella by doing the following:

Additional information on Shigella is available on the Shigellosis web page.

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Investigando la Shigelosis en tres condados del sureste