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Shigella Increase Identified in Hillsborough County

Most of the cases have hit young children.

If you're feeling under the weather, with symptoms of diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting, you may have a bacterial infection called Shigella.

Health clinics throughout Bloomingdale are seeing cases of the illness as the Hillsborough County Health Department reports a substantial increase in Shigella cases countywide.

There have been with more than 40 confirmed cases since the beginning of October. 

The majority of these cases are in daycare-age and school-age children.

No outbreaks of illness in child care facilities or schools have been
identified at this time, according to the health department.

Shigellosis is a bacterial infection with symptoms of diarrhea, fever, nausea
and vomiting.  Most cases are mild, lasting several days to weeks, but severe
complications such as dehydration can occur.

Any child with a diarrheal illness should not attend daycare or school until
24 hours after his or her last loose stool. Confirmed cases of Shigella are
required to have two negative stool test results prior to returning to sensitive
situations (daycare attendees or workers, food handlers and health-care
workers), according to the department.

Health officials advise you to contact your doctor or seek urgent care if you or your child has bloody diarrhea or diarrhea severe enough to cause weight loss and dehydration. Also, contact your doctor if you or your child have diarrhea accompanied by a fever of 101  F (38  C) or higher.

The bacteria can be easily spread from person to person. Children are most
commonly infected by this route and can pass the illness to others at home.
Other ways you can get the disease include eating foods or water that could be
contaminated with feces or contact with contaminated objects such as
bathroom faucet handles, doorknobs or toys.

Spread of Shigella is particularly likely to occur among toddlers who are not fully toilet-trained. Family members and playmates of such children are at high risk of becoming infected.

The department says the spread of Shigella from an infected person to other persons can be stopped by frequent and careful hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Additionally, when finished washing your hands, use a paper towel to shut off the water faucet and when touching bathroom doorknobs. Frequent, supervised hand washing of all children should be followed in child-care centers and in homes with children who are not completely toilet-trained (including children in diapers).

People who have Shigella infection should not prepare food or pour water for
others until they have been shown to no longer be carrying the Shigella
bacteria.

In addition to Shigella, other diseases can cause diarrheal illness in
children and adults.  Norovirus outbreaks have been reported in the county and across the state.  The same prevention measures of hand washing and staying home from childcare, school or work are crucial to preventing the spread of these illnesses.

For more information, contact the Hillsborough County Health Department
at 813-307-8010 or visit
http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/shigellosis/ on the web.

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