Shigella is a growing concern for MSM. So what is it?


Stool contaminated with shigellosis: Picxinio

There has been an outbreak of shigella, an STI, amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) in America’s San Diego County, which has issued a health advisory.

According to media reports, officials recorded  334 cases in 2017 – the highest count in 20 years. Of the cases reported this year, 25% were MSM and seven percent were homeless people, making them the second most impacted group.

Shigella is an intense STI that spreads through faeces, and can be easily contracted from rimming, oral sex, or putting your fingers in your mouth after handling used condoms, douches or sex toys.

The disease is said to be similar to E.Coli. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), shigella is very contagious.

Other than through sexual contact, people can get sick by getting shigella germs on their hands through touching surfaces that have been contaminated, (i.e. toys, bathroom fixtures, changing tables or diapers) or eating food that was prepared by someone who has shigellosis.

MSM are said to be among the most vulnerable and exposed to shigella. “Many shigellosis outbreaks among gay and bisexual men have been reported in the United States, Canada, Tokyo, and Europe since 1999,” says the CDC.

The symptoms of the STI include diarrhea, fever and stomach pain, which can last from a week to a month (if severe). An individual is said to remain contagious for up to two weeks after symptoms disappear.

Shingella is usually easily treated with a course of antibiotics, although there are reports of cases of antibiotic resistant strains.

Health experts recommend using condoms for oral sex, applying dental dams for rimming, and washing your hands after sexual contact.

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