Seattle, WA

A Disease Recently Spiked In Seattle, And It Wasn't Covid

Matt Lillywhite

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Seattle, as well as many other cities around the country, have been devastated by Covid-19. But, just as a ray of hope appeared at the end of the tunnel, another epidemic popped up. An ongoing epidemic of shigellosis, a bacterial illness that has taken several people to the hospital, is continuously being monitored by Public Health - Seattle & King County.

In simple terms, Shigella is a type of bacteria that causes shigellosis, a type of disease. It is the world's second most common cause of bacterial diarrhea and the third-highest cause of mortality in children under five. After infection, symptoms normally appear one to two days later. However, they often have a seven-day lifespan.

Shigella is usually spread by contaminated food or drink or by direct contact between people. It is typically a disease of impoverished and congested populations with inadequate sanitation and clean drinking water. Shigella transmission is believed to be reduced by 70% when hands are washed. Exclusion of shigellosis patients from employment, food preparation, and childcare are recommended as public health control interventions. In both the under-five and older-than-five age categories, an estimated yearly mortality count of 35,000–40,000 is recorded globally.

During the COVID-19 epidemic, the city of Seattle installed portable sinks and toilets in several neighborhoods to promote cleanliness, although homeless groups and some city council members argue that this is insufficient. The city council set aside $100,000 to fund handwashing stations similar to those created by the Clean Hands Collective.

It seems like health and safety measures designed to slow the spread of Covid-19 (such as washing hands) are effective in preventing Shigella outbreaks from worsening. Plus, with a large percentage of people vaccinated, there certainly seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Are you concerned about emerging diseases? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And if you think more people should read this article, share it on social media.

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