San Francisco’s homeless residents are the most vulnerable targets of the recent Shigella outbreak leading health authorities to take extra measures to prevent the disease from spreading. San Francisco has been fighting spike of Shigella cases this December, bacteria that affects the intestines, according to health department officials.
The city’s homeless population has also been hit by the disease. Usually, San Francisco’s Health Department records about 10 Shigella cases per month, but this last month has seen a huge spike with 65 diagnosed individuals. Approximately 40 percent of the 65 cases are confirmed in homeless individuals.
A health alert was issued by officials last week and sent to medical providers presenting the circumstances and giving testing and treatment data.
After infecting a particular host, the Shigella bacteria can cause diarrhea lasting up to a few days and, in rare situations, it can lead to more severe symptoms. In most cases, the majority of infected people recovers without needing medical care but the bacteria is exceedingly contagious, spreading rapidly via contact with corrupted surfaces, food managing and bad sanitation.
Residents of the city can control and prevent the expansion of the outbreak by cleaning their hands regularly and particularly before cooking and serving meals. According to officials’ recommendations, San Franciscans should wash their hands both before and after eating or using the restroom.
Dr. Tomas Aragon, San Francisco’s health officer held in a public declaration stating that authorities are especially worried about the homeless, who lack the proper conditions to fight the disease compered to individuals with stable lodging.
The homeless population is currently being contacted by a City Homeless Outreach Team. Staff members are questioning vagrants looking for manifestations of Shigella, giving out leaflets informing them about the spike, providing guidelines on sanitation and hand cleanliness as well as distributing sterilized towelettes.
Dr. Barry Zevin, the Homeless Outreach Team’s medical executive said that the squad is familiar with the whereabouts of the homeless and has the capacity to contact them fast and prevent, as much as possible, the spread of the bacteria.The Health office is likewise working with city safe houses and canteens to guarantee proper hygiene, hand washing lavatories and to give customers accurate information.
Small kids, the elderly and HIV diagnosed individuals are more prone to have serious symptoms such as lack of hydration, microbes penetrating blood vessels and seizures, health authorities said. Shigella is regularly treated with anti-infection agents and through intensive hydration.
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