The Kansas City Missouri Health Department reports the metro area has seen some 300 cases of Shigellosis this year – when there usually are a dozen.
Jeff Hershberger said 75 per cent of the nearly 300 cases in the KC area have involved children 10-years-old and younger, and that the bacterium targets daycare centers, adding,
"People are usually good at washing their own hands after changing a diaper. But, they don’t remember to wash the child’s hands."
And those same children can then possibly spread those germs to you at your local supermarket. They can spread those germs by touching produce.
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.
Shigellosis 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.