A 26-year-old researcher who drank an injection of bacteria that triggered dysentery for a vaccine trial ran down the toilet and felt so sick that he “wanted to die.”
Jake Eberts of Washington DC received a $ 7,000 payment to ingest the shigella bacterium, often spread by contaminated water, at the University of Maryland last month.
Three days later he woke up early with a feeling of “fun stuff” in his stomach and having to run to the bathroom.
For the next 48 hours, he faced stomach cramps, bleeding diarrhea, 103 F fever, and felt so exhausted that lifting any of his limbs was a “Herculean effort.”
The nurses rushed to give him fluids to replace what was missing and put antibiotics on him to help fight the infection. He recovered in four days.
Mr. Eberts became infected in a challenge trial, where participants received a trial or placebo and were inoculated before being exposed to the disease.
He had received it twice a month apart and was imprisoned for 11 days until the infection was cleared. He suspects that he received the placebo, or inactive vaccine, because the disease was very serious.
Summarizing the illness, Mr Eberts said: “This was the most brutal illness I have ever been in, and I wanted to die for a solid six hours. I can’t imagine how terrifying this illness is for a young child.”
Jake Eberts, 26, of Washington DC, became infected with shigella as part of a vaccine challenge trial. He had been given two doses of experimental jab or a placebo before he became infected. It is shown above with a strip of pores, which is used to remove blackheads
Mr. Eberts is pictured above swallowing a salty liquid before drinking the Shigella bacterium. He said he began to feel unwell on the third day of the infection
About 450,000 to 500,000 people are infected with shigella in the U.S. each year, according to estimates.
But in the developing world it can cause up to 160 million cases and 600,000 deaths each year.
Shigella is spread through contaminated food and water, as well as by touching surfaces also touched by someone who is infected with the disease.
Most infections trigger diarrhea with blood, fever, stomach ache, and a feeling of the need to defecate even when the bowels are empty for five to seven days.
People affected by the disease are usually only offered fluids to relieve the disease. But in more severe cases they will also receive antibiotics, the CDC says.
What is Shigella?
Shigella is an intestinal infection that causes severe diarrhea and stomach cramps.
It is usually transmitted through contaminated food and water, but can also be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces by an infected person.
In an infection, bacteria can trigger stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, fever, and a need to defecate.
These symptoms continue for about five to seven days on average, until the infection is cleared.
Currently, treatment is focused on administering fluids to patients and waiting for the disease to end.
In more severe cases, patients may also be offered antibiotics to help eliminate their infection.
Between 450,000 and 500,000 cases are triggered each year in the United States.
But in the developed world it can cause about 160 million cases a year.
Estimates suggest that some 600,000 people die from shigella each year, most of them young children.
No shigella vaccine is currently available, although there are several candidates in development.
Mr. Eberts was one of 16 people who took part in the second phase challenge test, which has the scientific name SF2a-TT15.
After drinking the shigella, he reported Twitter feeling well for the first two days after being infected.
But on the third day he wrote at 2.50am: “I woke up to what I can only describe as a feeling of funny business in my gut. Ramps, mild chills, normal stool show, at least visually.
‘The fever and chills became very ugly around 4 in the morning.
“There’s no diarrhea yet, but Chekhov’s diarrhea revolver now just hangs over me and every time [release gas] I’m squeezing the trigger of the worst Russian roulette game in the world.
During that day, Eberts said he had started suffering from dysentery and had gotten dirty twice. He had visited the toilet 11 times that day and was also very tired.
“I went to the bathroom and every part of it – getting up, walking, taking toilet paper – seemed like a herculean effort,” he wrote.
“I was so tired that I lay on the bathroom floor for a few minutes.”
The nurses decided to start treatment at this time, after which she began to show symptoms of infection.
The next day, Eberts said he began to feel “much better” than before, although he continued to need the toilet regularly.
He also had a fever again, which rose to 101F.
“I’m not fully recovered yet,” he wrote online. “Antibiotics helped a lot and my fever is gone, but I’m still producing a hell of a French onion soup every time I go to the bathroom.”
The next day, however, she reported feeling “much better,” as her bowel movements began to be “more normal.”
About 16 people between the ages of 18 and 45 took part in the challenge test at the University of Maryland. Half received the vaccine and half received a placebo.
Eberts was one of the first people to become ill, but said that over the next 11 days others also suffered from dysentery. Only four people had asymptomatic disease.
They had all received two injections of the vaccine or a placebo, which was a mock vaccine.
Placebo groups are needed in the trials so that scientists can determine if the item being tested, in this case a vaccine, had an effect.
It is unclear who received the placebo and who received the vaccine, and the results will not be revealed until two more trials are completed.
But Mr Eberts said he thought he was likely to have a placebo, and told The Insider: “If I got vaccinated, this is very bad news for the vaccine.”
The university is now hiring two more groups of up to 22 people to participate in the study. A fourth group will also be recruited and informed that they have received the vaccine.
Dr. Wilbur Chen, who is leading the trial, expects the blow to be at least 70 percent effective against shigella infection.
He said that if it does not reach at least 50% effectiveness, then the jab has failed.