The first-ever vaccine has been designed to deliver a three-in-one approach to protecting against E.coli, shigella and campylobacter jejuni – the three major bugs that cause bacterial diarrhoea around the world.
No licensed vaccines currently exist that provide immunity against all three pathogens, but Professor Mario Monerio from the Universtiy of Guelph in Canada has been testing his potentially life-saving jab out on mice.
His research, published in the journal Vaccine, says that the injection works by sticking the proteins from E.coli with sugars from shigella and campylobacter.
It's estimated that together, those three common bacteria kill more than 100,000 under-5s around the world each year.
"We're targeting three pathogens at the same time," said Dr Monerio.
"Instead of three shots, maybe you only need one."
Shigella is a bacteria similar to E.coli.
It's highly contagious and a common cause of food poisoning which can cause chronic diarrhoea and sickness, and anyone can catch it.
It's not just that it can make you feel really ill, it's also fatal.
Shigellosis results in around 700,000 deaths a year. Two tourists evacuated from the Egypt hotel where a British couple died back in August claim they have been struck down with shigellosis.
How can you avoid shingellosis?
Good personal hygiene is the best way to avoid shigella.
According to the NHS you should:
- wash your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and regularly throughout the day
- washing your hands before handling, eating or cooking food
- avoiding sharing towels
- washing the laundry of an infected person on the hottest setting possible
The symptoms to watch out for:
Symptoms include diarrhoea containing blood or mucus, nausea and vomiting.
You will also notice stomach cramps and pains, and high temperatures.
These symptoms usually start around two to five days after infection.
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, and visit a doctor to see if antibiotics are required.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to ease headaches and high temperatures.
GPs should be notified if a child starts developing shigellosis symptoms.
Children who have contracted the bug should stay at home for at least five days until tests show they are clear.
Adults should stay away from work, school or college for at least 48 hours until the last vomiting or diarrhoea episode, avoiding contact with others as much as possible during this time.
Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK and is often found in the gut and poo of animals; it's usually contracted by eating contaminated or undercooked meat – especially chicken.
A sugar-based jab against campylobacter (also developed by the professor) is currently undergoing human trials but is thought to be at least ten years away from being rolled out to the public.
He said that more research is needed in just how effective the combination of protein and sugar might be in the new vaccine.
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