County, City Working Together To Prevent Widespread Transmission of Shigellosis
San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced today that the County and the City are working together to prevent the spread of shigellosis among residents experiencing homelessness.
“Protecting the health and safety of our residents – especially those who are unsheltered and particularly vulnerable – is our foremost priority,” Chair Fletcher and Mayor Gloria said in a joint statement. “We do not want this to descend into a public-health crisis, so our teams are taking swift action now to help prevent widespread transmission.”
The actions the City and County are taking include:
- Temporarily deploying hand washing stations and portable restrooms to areas with high concentrations of people experiencing homelessness;
- Increasing sidewalk sanitations across the city;
- Sending notifications about shigellosis cases to service providers, outreach teams, and other entities who work closely with unsheltered residents, along with information about maintaining hygiene standards;
- Deploying County public health nurses to San Diego shelters;
- Posting signage about the threat of shigellosis in shelters;
- Increasing hygiene and sanitation measures at shelters;
- Having homeless outreach teams distribute hygiene kits, including educational materials about shigellosis;
- Hosting calls with homeless service providers to answer questions and provide guidance.
Shigellosis is a contagious infection that is usually not lethal and typically spread through contaminated surfaces, food or water or sometimes person-to-person. Find information about shigellosis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here: https://www.cdc.gov/shigella/index.html.
An outbreak of seven cases of shigellosis among people experiencing homelessness in San Diego was reported this week. All of the cases were hospitalized, and
there have been no deaths.
In 2019, then-Assemblymember Gloria authored legislation (AB 262 Local Health Officers: Communicable Diseases Amending Health and Safety Code Section 120175.5) to create stronger lines of communication between jurisdictions during public-health emergencies. Supervisor Fletcher led the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to fully support
the legislation, which was an outcome of the poor communications between the City and County during a severe Hepatitis A outbreak that occurred in 2017 and 2018.