County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Acute Communicable Disease Control
313 N. Figueroa Street, #212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7941
Fax: (213) 482-4856
Call 211 For Information 24/7
Have questions about things like where to go for vaccinations or
other health care
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Acute Communicable Disease Control
What is Shigellosis?
CONTINUING SHIGELLA INFECTIONS AMONG MEN IN LA
Currently, an increase in cases of an uncommon type of
is occurring in Los Angeles County. All cases have been among men, many self-identified as gay or bisexual. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at increased risk for this disease.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommends:
- MSM should be aware of the outbreak and that Shigella can be a severe illness, particularly in those with reduced immunity
- Changing sexual practices to avoid oral-anal contact will help prevent disease
- Any MSM with fever and diarrhea should see their healthcare provider
and a stool culture should be done to identify whether the cause is
- Abstaining from sex for at least 2 weeks after infection is important to further reduce transmission (and then maintaining safe sex practices when one resumes sexual relations)
- Those with Shigella infection should not prepare food for others while sick
- People who work in healthcare, food service, or
childcare, might be kept from work until they recover
per the 2016 update to the CA CCR Title 17 Reportable Disease Guidance.
If the method of AST used reports out minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), avoid prescribing fluoroquinolones for ciprofloxacin MICs in the 0.12–1.0 μg/mL range.
Obtain follow-up stool cultures and AST in shigellosis patients who have continued or worsening symptoms despite antibiotic therapy.
Tailor risk reduction and prevention messaging to MSM.
Report all cases and AST results to the
Los Angeles County Department of Pubic Health (LAC DPH).
- Obtain a stool culture from MSM who present with
fever and diarrhea.
- Order antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) when ordering stool culture for Shigella and request ciprofloxacin AST that includes lowest dilutions available (dilutions of 0.12 μg/mL or lower are ideal but not always available). Await AST results before treating.
- If antimicrobial treatment is warranted based on severe or prolonged illness, hospitalization, underlying risk factors such as immune-compromising conditions including HIV/AIDS or treatment with immunosuppressive drugs, clinicians should prescribe treatment on best data available and upon receipt of the antimicrobial susceptibility results, change therapy if necessary.
- If you routinely order PCR tests, please ensure it is in addition to culture. PCR does not replace culture as an isolate or specimen is required to be sent to the public health lab
per the 2016 laboratory submission guidance:
Reporting for Clinically
Los Angeles County
suspect cases are reportable within 1 working day from
identification by electronic transmission (including FAX at
888-397-3778), telephone (888-397-3993) or mail by completing a
confidential morbidity report (CMR).
Shigellosis is caused by a Gram-negative bacillus with
4 main serogroups: Shigella dysenteriae
(group A), S. flexneri (group B), S. boydii (group C) and S. sonnei (group D). Incubation period is
1-3 days. Transmission occurs when individuals fail to thoroughly wash their hands after defecation
and spread infective particles to others, either directly by physical contact, including sexual behaviors,
or indirectly by contaminating food. Infection may occur with ingestion of as few as 10 organisms.
Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and tenesmus. Stool may contain blood or mucous.
the elderly, the immunocompromised, and the malnourished are more susceptible to severe disease