Attention, Rooters: A Gastro Superbug That Can Spread Via Sexual Contact Is Doing The Rounds In Vic

Man wearing jeans sitting on toilet holding knees

I’ve got some news for the hornbags who call the lovely state of Victoria their home, and it revolves around bowel movements and general sickness. That’s right, lads: we’re talking about a gastro superbug, and it’s currently going gangbusters across the state.

Victoria’s outgoing Chief Health Officer and current silver fox Brett Sutton issued an alert to clinicians and the general public about the increasing number of shigellosis cases, which is caused by different strains of shigella bacteria.

The tricky part is that some strains of shigella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, which means they’re harder to treat.

According to Sutton’s health alert, shigellosis is a bowel infection that’s characterised by acute diarrhoea, fever, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. It is, as the kids are saying, not a vibe.

The health alert said many of the antibiotic-resistant cases have been identified in men who have recently had sex with other men. It’s also been seen in travellers who recently returned from countries with high rates of shigellosis.

“Shigellosis is highly contagious and is mainly transmitted through the faecal-oral route, including during sexual contact, especially oral sex and oro-anal sex,” the health alert said.

“Symptoms usually develop one to three days following exposure but can occur as early as 12 hours to as late as one week afterwards in some cases.

“Cases remain infectious while the shigella bacteria continue to be shed in faeces. This can last for up to four weeks after symptoms resolve.”

Sutton provided several recommendations to prevent the spread of shigellosis. These include engaging in safer sex (i.e. using condoms and other barrier methods) and washing your hands after using the loo and eating food, as well as before and after sex.

The goodish news is that if you do contract shigellosis, it’s usually self-limiting, which means it’ll resolve on its own. But severe illness and complications can occur among certain at-risk individuals, such as young children, older folks and those who are immunocompromised.

So, stay safe out there and take care of yourselves.

Image credit: iStock / comzeal