Shigellosis outbreak in Ohio

Franklin County and Columbus, Ohio are currently suffering from a shigellosis outbreak.  Since June 1, the city and Franklin County health departments have recorded 100 cases of infection with Shigella, which causes diarrhea and is easily spread from person to person.  This is in stark contrast to the 13 cases reported in 2007.

The source of the infection is still unknown, but Columbus Public Health workers are focusing on day-care centers where the disease might be spreading.

can cause diarrhea, which may be bloody, as well as severe dehydration and stomach cramps.  The bacteria is typically most severe in the immunocompromised, such as infants and the elderly

Shigella is usually passed from stools to fingers, or through poor hand washing habits. Food handlers who failed to wash their hands can also transmit it through infected food.  Shigella also has been known to contaminate pools, so people should avoid swimming if suffering from diarrhea.  The best way to avoid shigellosis is through good hand washing practices.

Columbus and Franklin County’s health commissioners, advise the following practices to limit the spread of this infection:
* Wash hands with soap carefully and frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before preparing foods or beverages.
* Do not swim or prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea.
* Dispose of soiled diapers properly and disinfect diaper changing areas after using them.