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Australian music festival struck by fecal disease outbreak.

Attendees of Victoria's Esoteric Festival in Australia have been alerted to a shigellosis outbreak, a highly contagious bowel infection. News.com.au reports that the Department of Health has confirmed the outbreak following reports from festivalgoers experiencing symptoms consistent with shigellosis, such as diarrhoea, fever, nausea, and cramps.

Shigellosis is transmitted through contact with infected faeces, either directly or indirectly, via contaminated hands or surfaces. The most vulnerable to complications are young children and the elderly, according to the news outlet.

The festival, which took place from March 8th to 12th in Donald, Victoria, has prompted health officials to advise anyone who attended during that period to undergo testing immediately if they exhibit any gastrointestinal symptoms. Symptoms closely resemble those of gastroenteritis, including an abrupt onset of diarrhoea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Particularly at-risk individuals, such as young children or the elderly, may experience severe illness and complications.

The Department of Health issued a warning, confirming the outbreak of Shigella gastroenteritis among festival attendees. They anticipate additional patrons and staff returning to various locations within Victoria and interstate may also develop symptoms in the coming days.

The outbreak was officially acknowledged at the festival after 230 attendees reported experiencing symptoms consistent with shigellosis. The department emphasizes that individuals with shigellosis working in roles such as food handling, childcare, healthcare, or residential facilities should refrain from returning to work until advised otherwise.

Compounding the challenge of managing this illness is its increasing resistance to initial antibiotics. Acting Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie notes that the infection is spreading either through contaminated food or via sexual contact.

The emergence of this outbreak underscores the importance of prompt and vigilant public health measures to contain the spread of infectious diseases, particularly within large gatherings such as music festivals. Authorities are working diligently to manage the situation and mitigate further transmission, urging affected individuals to seek medical attention promptly and adhere to recommended precautions to prevent further spread of the infection.

March 20, 2024 10:38 a.m. 3636

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