SF Public Health Officials report rise in shigellosis cases among homeless people
The San Francisco Department of Public Health has reported a significant increase in the number of cases of shigellosis, an intestinal bacterial disease.
It is a highly contagious bacterial illness and San Francisco residents are experiencing an increase in the number of cases this month, especially among homeless people.
According to the officials, here had been 65 cases involving shigella between December 1 and 23. These were far higher than the five to 10 cases the city typically has per month. Also among those cases, the disease was found in about 40% are in homeless people. Shigella is a fast-spreading bacteria that usually causes diarrhea symptoms typically lasting a few days.
Although most people can recover on their own without seeking medical care, the illness is highly contagious and can cause dehydration, bacteria in the blood and seizures among young children, the elderly and HIV-positive people.
According to Dr. Tomas Aragon, the city's health officer said, they are particularly concerned about our homeless residents, who are more vulnerable to disease than people with stable housing.
According to him, shigella contracts and spreads in people who live in crowded conditions and without access to running water and sanitation facilities.
City officials, including the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team, are interviewing homeless people to look for symptoms of shigellosis and are giving instructions on sanitation and hand hygiene.
Dr, Argon said, "We are working closely with homeless service providers to ensure that this community is reached".
Shigellosis can prevented by washing hands, especially before preparing or serving food, before eating and after using the restroom.
Officials are also working with the city's shelters and soup kitchens to ensure proper cleanliness.
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