Health department investigates several cases of Shigellosis

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Shawnee County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are investigating reports if Shigellosis in several children.

Shigellosis is a gastrointestinal illness caused by the Shigella bacteria. Shigella bacteria are found in the stool of an infected person.

It is spread by close contact and by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Symptoms of Shigellosis include:

  • Mild to severe diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Strained bowel movements

People with diarrhea should not go to school or work.

The illness is treatable and most people get better quickly, however some people develop severe diarrhea and dehydration that may be dangerous to the very young, very old or chronically ill.

Aside from staying home if you have diarrhea, other ways to prevent the spread of Shigella bacteria include:

  • Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating or touching food and after using the toilet or changing diapers
  • Washing hands after caring for a person with diarrhea
  • Not sharing food, drinks, silverware or straws.
  • Do not use a pool or swim in a pond if sick until two weeks after the diarrhea has stopped.

There have been five cases of Shigellosis in Shawnee County this year.

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