VOMITING BUG WARNING Shigellosis – what you need to know about the contagious bug that could sweep Britain this autumn

A HIGHLY infectious vomiting and diarrhoea bug is reportedly sweeping the country, leaving families bed-ridden.

This nasty illness called shigellosis – triggered by shigella bacteria – normally affects young people, and can spread quickly through schools and workplaces.

Like norovirus – also known as the “winter vomiting bug”, the bug rears it’s ugly head as the colder weather sets in, and is most common in early autumn.

The unpleasant side effects can also include painful stomach cramps, high temperatures and nausea.

Poor hygiene, such as not washing your hands after the toilet, is a common cause of the bug being passed on according to the NHS.

But it can also be spread by direct contact with someone infected, from doorknobs or toilet handles they have touched.

Symptoms include diarrhoea containing blood or mucus, nausea and vomiting.Sufferers also report stomach cramps and pains, and high temperatures.These symptoms usually start around two to five days after infection.

Excellent hand hygiene is vital to stop the infection from spreading.Be sure to wash your hands, and instruct kids to wash theirs as frequently as they can with soap and water.
In addition to this, don’t share towels or flannels, or prepare or serve food for others.Make a habit of regularly cleaning toilets with disinfectant by wiping the flush handle, toilet seat, bathroom taps and surfaces.

Those affected should drink fluids to prevent dehydration, and visit a doctor to see if antibiotics are required.In cases where sufferers have blood in their diarrhoea this is generally the case, but paracetamol and ibuprofen work to ease headaches and high temperatures in less severe cases.GPs should be notified if a child starts developing shigellosis symptoms.

Children who have contracted the bug are being told to stay at home for at least five days until tests show they are clear.Adults should stay away from work, school or college for at least 48 hours until the last vomiting or diarrhoea episode, avoiding contact with others as much as possible during this time.

Dr David Kirrage, consultant with PHE West Midlands Health Protection Team, said: “People who have had diarrhoea should stay away from work or school until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.