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Lavaca County Shigella Outbreak

Posted in Shigella on June 1, 2023

The Lavaca County Shigella Outbreak is under investigation by the Texas Department of State Health Services. If you or a loved one became sick in Lavaca County with Shigella or after eating at Cabos San Lucas Mexican Grill, contact our food safety attorney to schedule a free consultation about your legal options.

Authorities are “working to identify the source of the outbreak by interviewing individuals who have become sick and collecting food samples from a location where multiple individuals have eaten prior to becoming sick.” Restaurants are common sources of Shigella outbreaks.

Largest Shigella Settlement in US History

Houston-based Shigella lawyer Jory Lange recently won a $10 million settlement for a family who contracted Shigella after eating at a restaurant. One member of the family went on to develop severe Reactive Arthritis, one of the known complications of Shigella infections. This Shigella settlement is believed to be the largest settlement in U.S. history for Reactive Arthritis caused by Shigella food poisoning.

What is Shigella?

Shigella is a bacteria. Shigella infections are responsible for 300,000 illnesses and 600 deaths per year in the United States. The hospitalization rate associated with Shigella is also very high with an estimated 62,000 hospitalizations per year.

How Do I Know if I Have Shigella?

The best way to find out if you have Shigella is to see your physician and obtain a stool test. Symptoms of a Shigella infection include:

  • watery diarrhea
  • sometimes bloody diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal cramping
  • mucus in stool
  • sometimes a fever
  • tenesmus (a painful feeling f needing to pass stool even when the bowels are empty)

Some individuals, when infected with Shigella bacteria, may not show any signs or symptoms of the infection. The bacteria, however, will continue to live in their intestinal tract until the body’s immune system has completely destroyed it.

Those who are infected and show symptoms will do so within one to three days after ingesting infected food or drink. Usually, healthy adults will recover within five days to a week. But those who are in the high risk group may have longer, more severe infections.

If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above, medical attention is recommended. Shigella infections may have long-term complications. Early medical attention may help reduce the likelihood of complication.

Is Shigella Easy to Catch?

Shigella is one of the most communicable type of bacterial diarrhea that exists. No person is immune to Shigellosis. Considering the nastiness of the virus, there is an ongoing research for development of Shigella vaccine. Since children are a major victim of this virus, most of the cases of Shigella will automatically go down once the vaccine is injected.

Shigella can spread by a relatively tiny dose of infection (less than 100 bacteria are required to catch the disease). That is a very tiny amount of bacteria, which is why it is so easy for Shigella to transfer from person to person.

Another reason why Shigella is so dangerous because the bacteria thrives easily in the intestine of humans, which makes it so easy to transfer both from person to person and contamination of food, water, etc.

How Do you Get Shigella Bacteria?

Shigella is spread through fecal-oral route. It is highly contagious, which means just a small amount of germs are enough to make someone sick. People shed Shigella in their stool when they are infected and up to a week or two after their symptoms are gone. You can get Shigella bacteria by:

  • Eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with the germs. Eating food that has been prepared by someone who has Shigella. 20% of all Shigellosis infections are caused by food. In fact, in a research done by FoodNet, Shigella was in the top 3 pathogens that were responsible for foodborne illnesses along with Salmonella and Campylobacter.
  • Getting Shigella germs on your hands by the contaminated feces and then getting those hands near your mouth and using them for eating or cooking can also risk infection.
    • People working at daycare have higher chances of getting the germs through this kind of transmission because they have to change the diapers of the babies and kids.
    • Small children and babies can also get germs on hands through their own poop sometimes. Children take their hands in their mouth a lot. They also touch a lot of toys and infect it. Other children can get hold of germs by touching or taking in mouth the infected toy. Since a very small amount of dose is required for transmission, a small amount of feces and a touch is enough for contamination.
  • Swallowing or coming in contact with recreational water, like pools that have been contaminated with infected stools.

What Foods Commonly are Part of Shigella Outbreaks?

Foods that are most commonly associated with this pathogen are salads and sandwiches that are handled a great deal in their preparation, and raw vegetables contaminated in the field.

Additionally, Shigella can proliferate on unclean utensils, plates, and cups. Shigella is also known to be found in developing countries without proper drinking water treatment facilities.

How is Shigella treated?

The treatment of Shigella can depend on how strongly the symptoms have developed. If the symptoms are mild, then the doctor generally do not prescribe any medicines and let immunity do its work. The patient is advised to rest and take plenty of fluids. In other cases antibiotics such as cefixime, ampicillin or trimethoprim are prescribed.

Due to growing antibiotic resistance, the choices of treatment are limiting over time. It is best that we take good care of our hygiene and wish for Shigella vaccine to develop in order to avert the antibiotic resistance crisis.

Are There Complications to Shigella Infections?

Yes. Children less than 2 years old who have suffered from an infection do have chances of developing a severe infection accompanied by a fever that might turn into a seizure.

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)

This complication predominantly affects children even though adults can also be its victims. This syndrome is associated with hemolytic anemia (destruction of RBC’s), a low platelet count and acute kidney failure. HUS is a severe condition and those affected need to get medical care immediately.

Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis is a long term effect of Shigella that can lead to swollen joints and swelling due to an infection in some other part of the body.

Wrongful Death

Shigella is associated with a high fatality rate especially in the developing countries. With the complications that can arise with Shigella, there is a high chance of death associated with the infection.

How The Lange Law Firm Can Help

Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water. When restaurants cause Shigella food poisoning outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable. The Lange Law Firm is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits and contaminated water lawsuits.

If you got sick with Shigella in this Lavaca County Shigella Outbreak and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help. Our Record-Breaking food safety lawyer can help you pursue compensation for you or your child’s Shigella infection. Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.