Sweden reports dozens of Shigella infections linked to travel to Cape Verde


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Since mid-November, an increasing number of cases of shigella infection associated with travel to Cape Verde, Sweden, has been reported

Folkhalsomyndigheten, or Sweden’s Public Health Agency, reports that 30 cases of shigella infection linked to travel to Cape Verde have been reported in Sweden since mid-November.


To date, eleven bacterial isolates of the species have been identified: nine from Shigella soni and two from Shigella boedi. The spread of infection in Cape Verde has also been noted by several other European countries and has been addressed with the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Among Swedish travellers, infections with other enteric pathogens have also been observed, for example EHEC, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Shigella infection in connection with flights to Cape Verde has been a frequent problem. This and the presence of various types of Shigella and other enteric pathogens indicate contamination through food.

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Shigella bacteria are found in feces, and the infection is spread by eating food or drinking liquids contaminated by an infected person, or when a person touches a contaminated surface or object and then touches their mouth or puts the object in their mouth. People infected with shigellosis usually have a fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody.

Symptoms of shigellosis usually begin 1 to 2 days after exposure — but may take longer — and last about a week. Infected people can remain contagious for up to six weeks after symptoms resolve.

Most people with shigellosis recover completely without serious complications. In rare cases, shigella may cause bloodstream infections, seizures, kidney failure, or arthritis.

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