Updated March 20th, 2024 at 23:18 IST

Shigellosis: Faecal Disease Spread Among Revellers At Australian Music Festival Raises Alarm

Shigellosis, a highly contagious bowel infection, spread among 240 attendees at the recently held music festival in Victoria. Know more about it.

Australian Music Festival  | Image:Esoteric/Fb

The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care has issued a warning to attendees of the Esoteric Festival, held from March 8 to 12 in Donald, Victoria, regarding a confirmed outbreak of Shigellosis, a highly contagious bowel infection. The festival goers are being advised to seek immediate medical testing if they exhibit any symptoms associated with the infection, such as diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps, as reported by News.com.au.

Shigellosis, which presents symptoms akin to gastroenteritis, is primarily transmitted through direct or indirect contact with infected faeces. This can occur via contaminated hands, surfaces, food, or water. Dr Clare Looker, Victorian Chief Health Officer, said, “It is a moderate bacteria, causing severe illness in vulnerable groups like children, pregnant women, or those with a compromised immune system.”

Image credit: Estoric/FB

Health Alarm 

The health alert was issued following reports from approximately 230 festival attendees who experienced symptoms indicative of Shigellosis. The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care is urging those who have been at the festival to be cautious and on the lookout for signs signalling a spread of this infection. 


"The particular concern with this outbreak is that the strain of Shigellosis identified is immune to a number of antibiotics, making it particularly important to restrict its spread from the existing cases," Dr Clare Looker said.

"Additional patrons and staff who are returning to locations within Victoria and interstate may develop symptoms in the coming days," stated the Australian Health Department's announcement.

Image credit: Unsplash

The outbreak serves as a reminder of stringent hygiene practices, particularly for those working in sensitive roles such as food handlers, childcare and healthcare workers, and staff in residential facilities. These individuals are advised against returning to work until they have been cleared by health authorities.

Acting Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie said the challenges in containing the outbreak, suggesting that the infection could have spread through contaminated food or sexual contact, as per media reports. 


The health authorities are continuing their efforts to address and manage the situation, emphasising the need for prompt action and awareness among the affected population.


Published March 20th, 2024 at 23:18 IST