Marion County Reports an Increase in Shigellosis

For Immediate Release
June 16, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – The Marion County Public Health Department reports a significant increase in the number of Shigellosis cases in 2014, and is asking residents to help stop any further spread.

Shigellosis is a potentially serious infection that is easily passed by a germ from one person to another through the oral-fecal route. The spread is most often a result of poor handwashing after using the bathroom. Anyone with shigellosis should stay home and avoid contact with others until the infection has cleared.

Symptoms to look for include:

Symptoms usually develop 24-72 hours after exposure and can last 4-7days. Some people may not have symptoms, but can still spread the germ to others. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your primary care provider for evaluation. During an outbreak, antibiotic therapy is recommended for those infected and required for children to return to a childcare facility.

So far in 2014, the Marion County Public Health Department reports 162 laboratory-confirmed cases of shigellosis. By comparison, 34 confirmed cases of shigellosis were reported for all of 2013. The majority of these cases are occurring in young children.

“Children who are sick should stay home from childcare and summer camp, and should avoid other activities, such as swimming,” said Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department. “We must work together to protect the health of everyone in our community.”

Handwashing is the single best defense against this germ. Adults should supervise young children to make sure they wash their hands properly.

Shigellosis is caused by Shigella, a strong germ that can live for four days outside the body on common objects. Surfaces such as toys, the toilet flush handle, toilet seat, water faucet handles, door knobs and diaper changing tables should be cleaned thoroughly and frequently.

For more information about shigellosis, visit the Marion County Public Health Department’s website at or call 317-221-2117.

Media Contact:
Curt Brantingham
Media/Public Information Coordinator
317-221-2316 (o) │ 317-525-7450 (c)