A Shigella outbreak in Eureka, California has sickened at least three people, according to the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services. Three cases are lab confirmed, and two cases are being investigated as of February 2022. In a March 5, 2022 update, there are now five cases and 11 more illnesses being investigated according to news reports.
The cases occurred in multiple households and involve school age children, adults, and one person who is experiencing homelessness. The confirmed and suspected cases have been linked to locations on the waterfront area on the U.S. Highway 101 corridor in greater Eureka, according to an update by the health department.
The update, which was on a video narrated by public health nurse Daniel Tran, states, “Based on current and ongoing investigations we suspect the spread may be greater than our current understanding. Therefore, we are alerting medical providers in the area to consider testing for and treating shigella to help both understand the extent of the problem and to help stop the spread of this highly contagious bacterial illness.”
Officials think that the bacteria has been spread through laundromats in the Eureka area where an infected person supposedly washed clothing that was contaminated. Two laundry facilities in Eureka have been sanitized.