Shigella-infected shawarma leads to fatality in India

Posted: 4 May 2022 | | No comments yet

Shawarma dishes, found to contain Shigella bacteria, have led to death, hospitalisations and arrests in the state of Kerala in India.


A 16-year-old girl has died in Kerala, India due to Shigella contracted from a shawarma. The same bacteria that caused the food poisoning has also led to the hospitalisation of more than 30 others in the state.  

Shigella infection (also known as Shigellosis) is an intestinal infection caused by a family of bacteria known as shigella, and symptoms often include diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps. It can be spread through food (if food was prepared by someone with the infection or if the food itself is contaminated and eaten raw or undercooked), water and/or touch. The bacteria can lead to very serious illnesses and even death, if it is not treated quickly. 

In the recent case in India, the Shigella outbreak occurred at an eatery in the Kasaragod district in Kerala. Following the death of the 16-year-old student – who died whilst undergoing treatment in hospital following consumption of the contaminated item – The New Indian Express reported that the owners of the eatery, as well as the distributors of the contaminated shawarma, have been arrested. It added that the bacteria is ‘serious’, highly contagious and ‘can spread very fast’.

According to the news outlet, a health department official said: “Utmost care should be taken when eating such types of food, as the hot weather could aid bacterial growth. Shawarma is served with mayonnaise, which is one of the most likely foods that can cause poisoning as it’s made with raw eggs.”

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