Shigella Bacteria Sickens 92, Hospitalizes 16

Jul 9, 2013

The Rhode Island Department of Health says a bacteria called shigella is responsible for sickening 92 people with bloody diarrhea, sending many to the emergency room and hospitalizing 16, including children. All had been swimming in a lake in Burrillville. 

Shigella bacteria in a lab sample
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The shigella bacteria can cause flu-like symptoms, some severe enough to send you to the hospital, but mostly resolving in a few days. Shigella usually spread from one person’s contaminated diarrhea or dirty hands to another’s mouth. That’s why frequent hand washing is a good way to prevent infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rhode Island officials say those who got sick likely came into contact with the bacteria while swimming in Spring Lake in Burrillville on the 4th of July. Officials confirmed the cause of the infection from testing victims’ stool samples. They say repeat water tests in Spring Lake have come back clean and they’ll be reopening the beach.