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Shigellosis is an infection caused by the Shigella group of bacteria. For most people, the disease causes diarrhea (often bloody), fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are infected. Usually the illness only lasts five to seven days and does not require antibiotic treatment. However, antibiotic treatment can shorten the duration of diarrhea and eradicate the organism from feces. Some people are infected but have no symptoms and may pass the bacteria on to others.

Shigella bacteria are passed from the stool of an infected person to the mouth of another, also called the oral-fecal route of transmission. Bacteria can also be transmitted by ingesting fecal contaminated food or water, swimming in contaminated water, or contact with contaminated objects. Children in child care settings and people living in crowded conditions are at increased risk of infection. Shigellosis can sometimes spread quickly through entire communities, primarily through person-to-person transmission, causing what is known as a community-wide outbreak.

Shigella Infection in New Mexico and the United States

Active, population-based surveillance for Shigella has been conducted throughout New Mexico since 2004 as part of the New Mexico Emerging Infections Program (NMEIP ) FoodNet system. Medical records for residents of New Mexico with shigellosis are reviewed for demographic and other epidemiologic information. Through this surveillance system New Mexico FoodNet is able to examine and describe Shigella infections in the state. Data from New Mexico and other EIP FoodNet sites are aggregated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to generate national estimates.

During 2011, there were 120 laboratory-confirmed cases of Shigella identified in New Mexico, an overall rate of 5.81 per 100,000 population. The annual infection rate in New Mexico is cyclical and yearly rates trend higher than other FoodNet states.

Please visit the New Mexico Infectious Disease Data page for additional data.

Figure 1: Incidence of Laboratory-Confirmed Shigellosis by Year, New Mexico & All FoodNet Sites, 2004-2011

Figure 1