Created on Thursday, 07 February 2008 10:32

Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

Shigella Remains Concern As New Cases Are Reported

Marion County Health Department officials are continuing to respond to additional cases of Shigella. The number of new cases continues to hold steady, a sign the outbreak that began in the fall, is not close to ending.

A majority of those becoming ill with Shigella are pre-school aged. However, local health officials have documented cases in all age ranges.

Health department officials are concerned that many parents are sending their children to day care, pre-school and school with diarrhea, a symptom of Shigella. This is helping to spread the infection. Parents, day care operators, pre-school officials and school administrators have been asked to keep children with diarrhea and other symptoms out of the day care or school until the diarrhea has ended.

Other symptoms associated with Shigella include cramping, abdominal pain, chills, a feeling of illness, headache and fever.

“If a person is infected and does not properly wash their hands, their hands may be contaminated by stool. They can then touch and contaminate common surfaces such as tables, toys and food prepared by them. Touching something contaminated from an infected person and infect anyone,” Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director, Marion County Health Department.

Shigella is a common, highly contagious infection transmitted primarily from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route. Outbreaks can occur in areas where large groups of people gather, including schools, nursing homes, day care centers and other similar settings.

For more information on Shigella, contact the health department at 221-2117.