Everything you need to know about winter vomiting bug shigellosis

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
There are approximately 1,800 cases of shigella in the UK every year [Photo: Pexels]

A highly infectious sickness bug known as shigellosis is rapidly spreading across the UK. With reports of children being sent home from school and the illness sweeping our workplaces, the public is being advised to swot up on the bug.

So, look no further for everything you need to know about the virus from symptoms to look out for to the ways in which it’s spread.

What is shigellosis?

Shigellosis is a vomiting bug caused by four species of shigella bacteria. Though most common in young children, the illness can affect anyone and approximately 1,800 cases are reported in the UK every year.

How does it spread?

The virus is passed on from person to person and from hand to mouth. The most common way in which it is spread is when we fail to wash our hands properly after using the toilet. It can also be spread through sex.

What are the symptoms to look out for?

Symptoms can range from diarrhoea containing blood or mucus, nausea and vomiting. Sufferers also report stomach cramps and a high temperature two to five days after contracting the infection.

To prevent catching the infection, it is advised that you wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food [Photo: Pexels]

How to prevent the illness

In order to prevent getting sick, it is are advised that you thoroughly clean toilet seats, the flush handle and bathroom taps. It is also recommended that you wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before preparing food. It is also advised not to share towels with others.

What to do if you think you’ve been infected

It is advised that you drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated and to visit a doctor who can supply antibiotics. If there is blood in your diarrhoea or you think that your child may be suffering from the illness, a trip to see your GP is essential.

Children are being advised to stay home for at least five days until their symptoms clear while adults should take at least 48 hours off from work. It is crucial that you do not have much contact with others during this period to prevent spreading the infection.

For further information, please take a look at the NHS website.


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