Xi Jinping inspected the Huai River disaster in Fuyang City, Anhui Province on August 18th 2020. Just after that, on August 20th, 493 people successively developed fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in Baoyi Town, Shou County. The local county’s hospital and county’s traditional Chinese hospital were overcrowded.
The outbreak was caused by Shigella infection according to the announcement by the Health Commission of Shou County. Baoyi Town Water Plant was closed on August 21st to prevent water body infection,
Shigella is regarded as the pathogenic source of bacillary dysentery. The incubation period of infection is about one to three days. The clinical features include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, bloody stools, etc. The severity of symptoms is related to the amount of infectious bacteria, and most of patients without complications will recover within seven days. Patients with heavier infections may cause septic shock and toxic encephalopathy.
Shigella infections often occur in communities with poor sanitation and carelessness to personal hygiene. Shigella may even become endemic especially in places lack of tap water and indoor water.
Many local residents said that the tap water in their homes is very dirty, with black and muddy colors visible to with naked eyes. The water is not clean enough for washing clothes and impossible for drinking and cooking.
Keyi Ma, deputy director of the Shouxian County Health and Health Commission, said that the cases were dispersed in all 14 villages in Baoyi Town. There were slightly more cases in Kaihuang Village and Baoyi Village because of the large number of residents and the concentration of residence. Many netizens suspect that the Shigella infection in the villagers is related to the pollution of the water source after the flood. The corpse is swollen and rotted after soaking in the water, which is likely to cause such infectious diseases after the flood.
It is reported that Shigella was found in the patient’s excreta. The authorities are investigating whether the tap water in the water plant and residents’ homes contains such bacteria.