Shigella or shigellosis, which is similar to e. Coli, is an intestinal infection that occurs after poo-filled bacteria enters the mouth. San Diego health officials sent out an advisory about the infection, saying gay and bisexual men, people with compromised immune systems and homeless people are at a high risk for the disease.
San Diego recorded its highest number of Shigella cases in 20 years in 2017, with an increase seen more in the bisexual and gay community as well as the homeless population.
A person can catch shigella after oral sex, rimming or placing fingers in the mouth after handling sex toys, douches and condoms.
Shigella symptoms include fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea (possibly with blood), and can last for about a week. Treatment for the disease includes a round of antibiotics. However, the CDC says many shigella cases are resistant to antibiotic treatment.
People who believe they could be at risk for shigella need to talk with their healthcare provider.
The LGBT Foundation says people can decrease their infection risk by washing their hands, genitals and butt after having sex. They could also use condoms, dental dams and fisting gloves to protect them. They should also use a new condom with every new partner and between anal and oral sex.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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