Officials seeing an increase of Shigella cases

Officials seeing an increase of Shigella cases
Posted at 11:36 AM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 13:36:37-04

The South Central Public Health District is alerting the community of increased cases of Shigellosis (also known as Shigella) in south-central Idaho.

During 2015, 17 cases of Shigella were reported to the agency.

Since 2016, 14 cases have been reported.

Shigella has been reported in Blaine, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Jerome counties.

“Many people are unfamiliar with Shigella and what causes it,” says Tanis Maxwell, SCPHD Epidemiologist.

“Shigella is a bacteria present in the fecal matter of an infected individual. The symptoms of Shigella are watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.”

Transmission of Shigella can occur when people put something in their mouths or swallow something that has come into contact with the stool of an infected person.

This can happen when:

• Contaminated hands touch your food or mouth.

• Shigella contaminated foods are consumed. Food may become contaminated if any food handlers have Shigella.

• Swallowing recreational (for example lake or river water while swimming) or drinking water that is contaminated with the Shigella bacteria.

“This infection is a strong reminder of how important it is to wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food.” says Maxwell.