Health officials are investigating a shigellosis outbreak at the Wake Robin retirement community in Shelburne, VT, according to the state health department. Sixty-seven people have reported symptoms consistent with a Shigella infection, according to a VTDigger report. All of them live or work at Wake Robin or have contact with someone who does.

The Vermont Department of Health has been investigating the outbreak since October 23, 2018 when it issued a health advisory to doctors and other healthcare providers. That advisory urged clinicians to test all patients with symptoms consistent with a Shigella infection and report the cases to the state health department.

Wake Robin is working with health officials to discover the source of the outbreak and closed the dining room at the height of the outbreak.

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Shigella

Symptoms of a Shigella Infection

Shigella is transmitted via the fecal-oral route. That means people become sick when they eat food that has been contaminated by someone with a Shigella infection who didn’t wash his or her hands properly after using the bathroom.

Symptoms usually develop about three days after contaminated food is ingested. But sometimes symptoms can take as long as seven days to appear. These symptoms include:

  • Sudden abdominal pain or cramping
  • Fever, which may cause seizures
  • Blood, mucus, or pus in stool
  • Rectal pain, cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea

Anyone with these symptoms who lives or works at Wake Robin; or has contact with someone who does, should see a doctor and mention exposure to Shigella. People with shigellosis should not take over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications as they can actually prolong symptoms.

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