Monday 23 October 2017

Disease-control inspectors visit Dublin 'sex-on-site' venue after dysentery outbreak

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A “sex-on-site” club in Dublin, frequented by gay men, was visited by disease-control inspectors after an outbreak of severe dysentery.

The venue, frequented by men seeking a sexual partner, was linked to cases of shigella, an intestinal disease which is difficult to treat and resistant to several antibiotics.

The outbreak in four men, which was diagnosed in December, led to an environmental inspection of the premises which has not been named, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre reported.

It is the second similar outbreak of shigella recently and follows an earlier incident in late 2015 to early 2016 when 30 cases were identified.

This most recent outbreak was first suspected in early December by staff in the in the Department of Public Health HSE-East.

After four similar strains of the bug were identified an outbreak control team was set up.

Of the four cases, all were gay men who were either resident in Dublin or had an epidemiological link with Dublin. The cases ranged in age from late 20s to early 50s.

Three men were HIV positive and all required hospital admission for treatment of their infection where they spent up to 24 days. They were quite ill and were treated with intravenous antibiotics.

All reported having had sexual activity in Dublin city and two men said they visited a sex-on-site venue in the city. The results indicated a high possibility of links between the four cases.

On the team’s request, the Gay Health Network arranged distribution of posters and leaflets about the bug were placed in various venues. They included a ‘Luv Bugs’ leaflet, developed after the first outbreak.

The team visited the sex-on-site venue and an environmental investigation was carried out.

No environmental source was identified but the opportunity was taken to provide recommendations to management as to measures that can be undertaken to help reduce the risk of transmission of enteric infections at the venue.

The investigation was closed after a five week period had elapsed in which no further notifications were received. The report said it demonstrated the need for men who have sex with men to be aware of the risk of acquiring infection from certain sexual practices.

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