Shigellosis - worry for Gay Men
< 1 min read

A concerning trend has emerged in Victoria as a growing number of gay men are being diagnosed with an antibiotic-resistant strain of a sexually-transmitted bowel infection.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has sounded the alarm by issuing an alert, urging swift action to combat this urgent threat.

Shigellosis, commonly known as gastroenteritis, can trigger debilitating symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. To prevent further spread, authorities say it is crucial to act promptly and implement preventive measures.


The Victorian Department of Health has issued an advisory indicating a significant surge in shigellosis cases resistant to conventional treatments, particularly among gay men who have engaged in recent sexual contact and individuals who have travelled internationally.

Shigellosis spreads rapidly through the faecal-oral route, necessitating heightened vigilance. Practising safe sex and maintaining proper hand hygiene are vital in curbing the transmission of this highly contagious infection.

Taking immediate action, the Victorian health advisory has instructed local public health units to closely monitor individuals diagnosed with antibiotic-resistant Shigella infections.

These individuals, along with their contacts, will receive comprehensive guidance on monitoring, testing, and necessary quarantine measures. Although shigellosis is often self-limiting, severe illness and complications can arise, especially in vulnerable populations like young children, older individuals, and those with compromised immune systems.

To safeguard the community, Victorians diagnosed with shigellosis, particularly those working in residential facilities, childcare, healthcare, or food sectors, must refrain from going to work until receiving clearance from the health department.

This proactive measure aims to protect vulnerable populations and prevent the superbug’s spread within high-risk environments.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s health alert serves as a rallying call to prioritize safe sexual practices and maintain rigorous hand hygiene.

Last Updated on Jul 12, 2023

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