Health warning spread of Shigella illness

Posted on: Wednesday, 1 March 2017 at 4:12:33 PM

The City of Greater Geraldton wishes to advise there has been a recent rise in the number of cases of Shigella (a gastrointestinal illness) in the Midwest with 14 cases so far this year a rise over the nine cases reported in 2016.

People get sick about 1-3 days after being infected and are usually sick for 5-7 days. Symptoms include diarrhoea (sometimes with blood), vomiting, abdominal cramps, headaches and fever. People are contagious whilst they are sick and until up to 4 weeks afterwards. The infection is spread from contaminated hands and surfaces or through contaminated water and food, and it can also be spread via sexual contact.

Stopping the Spread of Infection

The spread of infection can be easily reduced by doing the following:

  • Regular hand washing with water and soap, most importantly after going to the toilet, contact with affected persons and touching possible contaminated surfaces.
  • Wash hands very thoroughly before eating or handling food and if possible ask someone else to prepare the food if you are sick.
  • Supervise children when they are washing their hands.
  • Wash and / or peel vegetables and fruit prior to eating.
  • Affected people should be excluded from work and school until at least 24 hours after their diarrhoea stops.
  • If infected person works in health-care, aged-care, child-care or is a food handler or attends child-care they need to be excluded until they have had normal stools for 48 hours. Depending on your occupation you may require medical clearance prior to your return. If unsure check with your employer.

If you have any queries please contact the City on (08) 9956 6600 or email

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