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British health services warn MSM about Shigella dysentery outbreak

Non-travel-related infections in men on the rise

British health services are warning of a Shigella dysentery outbreak among men who have sex with men (MSM). Credit:

British health services are warning men who have sex with men (MSM) about an outbreak of Shigella dysentery, a serious gut infection transmitted by oral-fecal contact, Aidsmap reports.

Shigella infections are usually linked to travel, but non-travel-related infections in men have risen from 43 to 224 since 2009.

Shigella causes long-lasting diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting. MSM are especially at risk through rimming and anal contact during sex. Public Health England recommends showering and washing hands thoroughly after sex.

Medical journal The Lancet had also warned of an epidemic of new HIV cases in London related to methamphetamine use in MSM. 2011 saw a record high number of new HIV cases in MSM in the UK, nearly half of which were in London. The authors of the report say that a particular culture of MSM drug use and partying called “slamming” — mostly hidden from the broader gay culture — has led to one-sixth of all new HIV infections in the UK being diagnosed through one clinic in Soho, London.