Kerala health department on Tuesday identified shigella bacteria as the cause of food poisoning which claimed the life of a student and led to the hospitalisation of around 30 others in the state’s Kasaragod district.
District medical officer Dr S K Ramdas said the presence of shigella was confirmed after testing the blood and faeces of those undergoing treatment for food poisoning. The samples collected from the hospitalised persons were tested at the government medical college hospital in Kozhikode, he said.
On Sunday, 16-year-old student Devananda had died of food poisoning after she ate shawarma from an eatery at Cheruvathur in Kasaragod. On the same day, around 30 others were hospitalised – two of them in critical condition – with symptoms of food poisoning. They had also consumed chicken shawarma from the same eatery on Friday. The police have arrested the owner and staff of the eatery.
Shigella bacteria spreads through the use of contaminated water, contaminated food, unwashed fruits and vegetables. Close contact with those infected with shigella and consuming food prepared by them can also cause the bacteria to spread. The disease easily spreads through direct or indirect contact with the patient’s excrement. The infection often gets worse in pregnant women, children under five years and in those with weakened immune systems.