Shigellosis Outbreak in the Community

Press Release No. 2019-048

The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) is monitoring an outbreak of Shigellosis on Guam. In 2018, a total of 29 cases of Shigellosis were reported (with 23 cases or 79% confirmed).

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella (shih-GEHL-uh). Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Some people who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others. The spread of Shigella can be stopped bu frequent and careful handwashing with soap and taking other hygiene measures.

People usually get sick from Shigella bacteria after putting something in their mouth or swallowing something that has come into contact with the stool (poop) of someone else who is sick form Shigella bacteria.

There is no vaccine to prevent shigellosis. However, you can reduce your chance of getting shigellosis by:

  1. Carefully washing your hands with soap and water during key times:
    • Before eating or preparing foos for others; or
    • After changing a diaper or helping to clean another person who went to the bathroom.
      • If you care for a child in diapers who has diarrhea, promptly throw away soiled diapers in a covered, lined garbage can.
      • Wash your hands and the child’s hands carefully with soap and water immediately after changing the diapers. Clean up any leaks or spills of diaper contents immediately.
  2. Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated swimming pools.
  3. When traveling internationally, follow safe food and water guidelines and wash hands often with soap and water.
  4. Avoid sexual activity with those who have diarrhea or who recently (several weeks) recovered from shigellosis.

Please read the PDF document attached for more information.

Skip to content