Shigella Dysentery On The Rise Among Gay/Bi Men
HEALTH ALERT! A new campaign to warn gay and bisexual men about the risk of Shigella dysentery has been launched by Public Health England (PHE) in partnership with Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), as new figures show a surge in cases likely to have been sexually-acquired over the past 12 months. In the UK, Shigella flexneri usually affects similar numbers of men and women and is linked with overseas travel, but 2013 data show an excess of more than 200 cases of the infection in men with no or unknown travel history, compared to women. London is most affected. Shigella is a serious gut infection causing severe, prolonged diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Among gay and bisexual men, Shigella is usually passed on through the faecal-oral route during sex, either directly or via unwashed hands – only a tiny amount of bacteria can spread the infection. Symptoms often develop around 1-3 days after sex, including: Frequent and explosive diarrhoea lasting more than 48 hours, Stomach cramps, Feeling feverish with flu like symptoms, Some people report vomiting, Feeling weak and tired (accompanying the gastrointestinal symptoms). Men experiencing Shigella symptoms are advised to visit their GP or a sexual health clinic, specifically mentioning Shigella and requesting a stool sample test. The infection is treatable with antibiotics. For more information check out our STI page.