Kasargod teen’s death due to contaminated shawarma: What is Shigella bacteria?

Shawarma being cooked (Representative photo, credit Pixabay)

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Summertime provides a conducive atmosphere for harmful bacteria to proliferate.
  • Food cooked in summer needs to be consumed before it goes bad.
  • If microbes proliferate in food and the contaminated food is consumed, it can also cause death due to food poisoning.

Kasargod: The Kerala High Court has registered a suo moto case pertaining to the death from food poisoning of a 16-year-old student who died after consuming a dish called Shawarma.

Moment outbreak of shigella bacteria is believed to be the reason behind the recent incident of suspected food poisoning in Kasaragod district, where around 58 people fell ill and a young girl died after consuming food — specifically ‘shawarma’ — from a eatery in Kerala, a senior district health official said.

The court has ordered the registration of a case against the restaurant owner and management as per the reports in the media and ought an explanation from the government in this regard. The court has also reportedly demanded answers to queries posed to the Commissioner of Food Safety.

in devana, a 16-year-old resident of Perala, Karivelluru had allegedly consumed Shawarma on the April 29 and 30 at Ideal Food Point Cool Bar. As many as 50 other students took seriously ill after consuming food there.

Already the Kozhikode laboratory confirmed that the food at the joint had been contaminated with Shigella bacteria and three other harmful microbes. The police have arrested restaurant manager T Ahmed, a resident of Padannda, Chervathuru. The total number of those arrested has gone up to three. A case has been registered against the owner of cool bar who is abroad.

What is Shigella bacteria and shigellosis?

According to Mayo Clinic, Shigella infection (shigellosis) is an intestinal infection caused by a family of bacteria known as shigella. The main sign of shigella infection is diarrhea, which often is bloody.

Shigella is very contagious. People get infected with shigella when they come in contact with and swallow small amounts of bacteria from the stool of a person who is infected with shigella. When people who handle food do not wash their hands well enough after changing a child’s diapers or themselves visiting a toilet, Shigella infection can be passed on.

It is also passed on by consuming infected food or by drinking or swimming in unsafe water.

A mild case usually clears up on its own within a week. When treatment is needed, doctors generally prescribe antibiotics. According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of shigella infection usually begin a day or two after contact with shigella. But it may take up to a week to develop.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  1. Diarrhea (often containing blood or mucous)
  2. Stomach pain or cramps
  3. fever
  4. nausea or vomiting

Warning signs: See a doctor immediately:

You must not neglect signs of suspected Shigella infection. If you or your child – anyone develops bloody diarrhea or diarrhea severe enough to cause weight loss and dehydration – you must contact your doctor. If the infected person is running a fever of 101 degree F (38 deg C) or higher, one must immediately approach a hospital for life-saving care.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.

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