Multi-drug resistant shigellosis

Find out about shigellosis

The ACT and NSW have both seen an increase in multi-drug-resistant shigellosis cases acquired through male-to-male sexual contact which are resistant to all recommended oral antibiotics.

Shigellosis is an infection caused by a bacterium called Shigella.

  If you have symptoms of shigellosis

See your doctor. Antibiotic therapy is recommended, as shigellosis readily spreads from person to person. Antibiotics reduce infectiousness and may also shorten the duration and severity of illness. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics while waiting for results, but they may need to ask you to return a few days later if your strain of infection is found to be resistant to the antibiotic you have been prescribed.

While you are waiting for confirmation of your infection and effectiveness of antibiotics, follow the advice below obtained from the NSW Health website to prevent the spread of shigella. 


If you have been diagnosed with shigellosis

To prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant shigellosis:

  • Don’t have sex (especially where there is any contact with the anus) until no longer infectious (usually 1 week after symptoms resolve).
  • Don’t prepare food or drink or share utensils, provide personal care for others, share linen or towels while sick.​ 
  • Don’t swim in a pool until 24 hours after the diarrhoea has stopped.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.
  • Patients who work in 'high-risk' jobs for spreading shigella should not return to work until 48 hours after their diarrhoea has stopped. This includes people who work as food handlers (such as kitchen staff and waiters, butchers) and those who care for patients, children or the elderly.

Download a factsheet about shigellosis here. Regular sexual health testing is available across the ACT. Click here to see dates for sexual health test clinics supported by AIDS Action Council staff. 

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