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October 4, 2016: After Water Crisis, Flint Faces Shigella Outbreak

Flint Shigella Outbreak

Residents of Flint, Michigan in Genesee County are experiencing an outbreak of Shigella, a bacteria that can cause diarrhea (sometimes bloody); blood, mucus, or pus in stool; fever; abdominal pain or cramping; nausea and vomiting; tenesmus (straining to have bowel movements, even when the bowel is empty); and malaise.

The Genesee County Health Department believe the Flint Shigella outbreak to be connected to an a water contamination crisis in Flint that has lead to residents changing their water-usage habits, including avoiding hand washing. Hand washing is the easiest way to prevent spreading Shigella infection.


(U.S. National Guard photos by Staff Sgt. Thomas Vega)

(U.S. National Guard photos by Staff Sgt. Thomas Vega)

The Weinberg Law Firm is currently assisting those injured by infections related to environmental contamination, including Shigella outbreaks. For a free Shigella lawsuit evaluation, contact our law firm toll free at 1-877-934-6274. You can also contact our lawyers by submitting the online “Free Legal Evaluation Form” found on this page.

The Flint Water Crisis

In an effort to balance the town’s budget, the state changed Flint’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. After Flint citizens’ unanswered appeals to the government to test the safety of the brown water coming from their taps, independent researchers from Virginia Tech found the water contained high amounts of lead. Upon this discovery, the state faced serious public scrutiny, and citizens of Flint faced serious potential health problems from exposure to the tainted water.

County Health Department Response to Flint Shigella Outbreak

The average of Shigella infection is about 20 cases per year. In Genesee county, however, there have been 76 confirmed of shigellosis since October of last year.

In response to this alarming spread of the Flint Shigella outbreak, the county is now launching a mass “hand-washing campaign” in conjunction with the CDC and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Shigella Complications

The elderly, young children, and immunocompromised may be more likely to develop severe diarrhea and dehydaration, mucosal ulceration, and rectal bleeding. Potential complications of shigellosis may include Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, or Reiter’s Syndrome (reactive arthritis).

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