A 26-year-old American faced terrible symptoms after ingesting a liquid contaminated by the Shigella bacteria, responsible for causing dysentery. The experiment was part of a study carried out at the University of Maryland, in the USA, to test a vaccine against the pathogen.
Jake Eberts recounted on his Twitter account the experience he had with the disease during the time he was quarantined at the university hospital.
In addition to diarrhea with blood in the stool, he had stomach cramps, a fever of 39.4°C, and very difficult to lift any of his limbs.
“This was the most brutal illness I’ve ever been on, and I wanted to die for six hours. I cannot imagine how terrifying this disease is for a child,” she posted.
During the days he was under observation at the hospital, the boy received isotonic drinks to fight dehydration. Days later, he was given antibiotics to control the infection and recovered in four days.
(as opposed to just diarrhea — blood in the stool makes it dysentery!) Anyways that was the most brutally sick I have ever been, and I wanted to die for a solid six hours. I cannot imagine how terrifying this disease is for a small child. 💔
—Jake Eberts (@wokeglobaltimes) April 9, 2022
Eberts was infected in a trial, in which participants are given an experimental vaccine or placebo and then exposed to the disease. To participate in the study, he received about $7,000.
Before becoming infected, Eberts received two injections about a month apart and was in isolation for 11 days. He suspects that he was given the placebo because of the severity of the symptoms he developed.
Infection caused by the Shigella bacteria causes bloody diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain. It is normally spread by contaminated food and water, but it can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces by an infected person.
Treatment basically consists of administering fluids to combat dehydration. In more severe cases, patients may also be given antibiotics to help clear the infection.
Shigella can trigger up to 160 million cases and 600,000 deaths every year. There is currently no vaccine available, but several trials for a possible immunizer are underway.