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Shigella and Salmonella: what they are, how they differ, how to prevent infection and what symptoms to watch out for


Concern grows over 4 cases in the town of Berazategui, 2 of them fatal. These bacteria can generate poisoning of different severity.

A lot of concern is generated at this time by the death of two people in Berazategui, produced days after having eaten meat and offal that is being studied if they were in poor condition.


two other cases

of hospitalized men with similar symptoms and who also ate meat in that municipality are being investigated.

According to a statement released by the government of the province of Buenos Aires, the presence of


was confirmed in both deceased patients and also Shigella in the second 


What are these two bacteria?

How are they contagious?

In what cases can its intake be fatal?

What can be done to prevent contagion?

These are some of the doubts that appear.

Shigella: a potentially deadly bacterium

Shigella is a bacterium that has different species.

"One of them is

especially more virulent

, we are talking about

dysenteriae serotype 1

, which produces a toxin that can cause systemic damage to the kidney and other organs," explains Claudia


 , PhD in Chemistry, ITBA professor and co-creator. from @cazabacterias.



"is a gastrointestinal pathology caused by the Shigella bacterium," explains Francisco Dadic, a toxicologist at the Durand Hospital, and director of Toxicology Today.

The relationship between intoxications and meat and ingested offal is studied.

Photo Shutterstock.

"In general -continues Degrossi- it is characterized because the

infective dose is low,

if on top of that it is offal that are washed, the contamination can spread, also if the same source is used to support offal, raw or cooked", adds.

In this sense, he explains that when food is washed, splashes are produced around the pool, and if demanding hygiene is not carried out afterwards,


that could be present will spread.

"If the infective dose is low, when another element is supported, cross-contamination is generated," he warns.

How is it spread?

“Poisoning is frequent when handling food

with dirty hands


The person who carries the bacteria handles food without proper asepsis, it becomes contaminated with the pathogen and infects future consumers”, Dadic explains.

And he adds that it is also common to get infected by putting dirty hands

in their mouths


"This is one of the reasons why it is very frequent in children who, unlike adults, do not always have the built-in habit of washing their hands correctly," he summarizes.


This poisoning presents certain symptoms.

“Initially, it manifests with abdominal pain and vomiting, although the

characteristic hallmark

is bloody diarrhea and abundant mucus.

The fever is usually 38 degrees or more ”, details the toxicologist.

In turn, it clarifies that although symptoms begin to appear one to two days after infection, they

can also take up to a week

to develop.

"The patient is a vector of contagion during all that time," she warns.

Shigellosis manifests with abdominal pain and vomiting, although the hallmark is bloody diarrhea.

Photo Shutterstock.

The doctor confirms that anyone can contract it, although it is

more common

for this to happen in children under 5 years of age "who live in precarious health conditions."

And he adds: "Also in adults it is common in case of performing oral-anal sex practices."


consists of extensive hydration and specific antibiotics to kill the germ


Salmonellosis: the risk of eggs

In this case, it is a disease caused by the ingestion of a bacterium called


which, although it is not more serious in a healthy adult,

can be fatal

in people with deficient immunity, the elderly or children under two years of age.

“Like other bacterial gastroenterocolitis, it is closely linked to the

ingestion of certain foods

without adequate preparation”, introduces Dadic.

In the case of salmonella, be especially cautious with the eggs.

Photo Shutterstock.

And he expands: “In the case of


it has the particularity of staying in the intestines of contaminated animals and being transmitted through their excreta.

During slaughter and processing (in the case of chickens or cows), these can become contaminated and

reach the diner

, who develops the pathology”, he specifies.

It is common in the following foods:

  • Chicken and duck eggs.

    It is the most frequent means of contagion.

  • Beef and poultry,

  • Milk and dairy products,

  • Fish and shrimp (from water contaminated with feces),

  • Dressing prepared with unpasteurized egg,

  • Fruits and vegetables (not washed properly), among others.

Eggs are the most common infection vectors because in infected birds,


has the ability to colonize the hen's ovaries, which is why some of the

eggs come out contaminated.

"If this egg is kept at room temperature, without adequate refrigeration, the bacteria begin to multiply inside it," explains Dadic.

Therefore, dishes with egg as an ingredient and without full cooking (desserts such as tiramisu, mousse and unpasteurized ice cream, dishes based on scrambled eggs, omelette or homemade mayonnaise) present a

higher risk


"Once infected, the person can develop the disease days later and the most characteristic is


(inflammation of the stomach, intestine and colon)," explains Dadic and details the most characteristic symptoms:

  • vomiting,

  • Abdominal pain,

  • Fever

  • Diarrhea with mucus and blood.

Treatment is similar to that for shigellosis.

prevention guidelines

There are certain things that all people can do in order to

avoid ingesting bacteria

that can be harmful to the body.

Dadic points out the following:

  • Never refreeze food that has already been defrosted.

    When taking them out of the freezer, keep them in the fridge, not outside.

  • Before handling food, wash your hands very well.

  • You should be especially cautious with dairy foods and with eggs in hot weather.

    In turn, its expiration date should be especially monitored.

  • Clean the shell of the eggs well and dry it before using them.

    Do the same with the skin of the fruit before eating it.

  • Cook food to at least 70 degrees, “because at that temperature most microorganisms die.

    Make sure that the food does not remain raw inside, especially very thick fillets, eggs and fish”, he advises.

  • Avoid minced meat in children under 5 years of age.

  • Do not mix raw and cooked food.

    “Cross contamination is one of the main risks in the kitchen: if the meat is contaminated by pathogens and it is cut on the same board as the apple or with the same knife, infection will not be avoided,” he warns.

  • Observe changes in the smell or color of a food because they are alarm signals.

  • Consume prepared food immediately and do not keep it at room temperature as when cooked food cools down, microorganisms begin to proliferate.

    The more time passes, the more danger there is.

look also

Bromatology at home: the 5 most frequent (and dangerous) mistakes when handling food

Trichinosis: what it is, how to avoid it and what are the symptoms of the disease that puts Santa Fe on alert

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-01-27

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