Recent increase in Shigella cases

31 July 2017 - Communicable Disease Control Branch

The Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) has identified a recent marked increase in cases of Shigella infection in the Port Augusta, Ceduna, Far North and West Coast regions. There is also a current outbreak of shigellosis in the Northern Territory.

Shigellosis is highly infectious and spread by direct faecal-oral transmission or indirectly via fomites and flies. The infectious dose can be as low as 10-100 organisms. The incubation period is 1-3 days. Cases of shigellosis present with diarrhoea (which may contain blood and mucus), stomach cramps, fever and vomiting. Duration of illness is usually 3-4 days but people can shed bacteria for up to four weeks after resolution of symptoms. This presents a high risk of ongoing transmission, particularly where overcrowding and poor sanitation occur.

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Update on availability of BCG vaccine

4 July 2017 - Communicable Disease Control Branch

No BCG vaccine registered by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has been available for use in Australia since December 2015. It is not certain when a registered BCG vaccine will be available on a secure basis.

As a temporary alternative in 2017, a BCG vaccine product from the Serum Institute of India (SII), which is World Health Organisation (WHO) prequalified, http://www.who.int/immunization_standards/vaccine_quality/118_bcg/en/, has been obtained by the SA Health Immunisation Program. This BCG vaccine has been assessed by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) as suitable for use on quality and safety grounds, but it is not registered or approved for marketing by the TGA in Australia. Therefore its provision will be through special prescribing arrangements with the TGA and will require a specific process of informed consent by the patient or parent/guardian before vaccination can occur.

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