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Health Department Seeing Increase in Shigellosis Cases

The City of Lubbock Health Department continues to see an increase in shigellosis cases. Between September and October 2019, 21 cases of shigellosis have been reported. During the same time period in 2018 no cases were reported and three total for the year.

Shigella is the bacterium that causes shigellosis, a diarrheal illness that lasts from 4-7 days. Fever, vomiting and stomach cramps may also be present. Once a person is exposed, symptoms usually develop within 1-3 days.

Shigella is spread person-to-person through the unwashed hands of an infected person. This can happen by direct contact, or by food or drink handled by the infected person. Although shigellosis is easily spread, it can also be easily prevented. The key is GOOD HANDWASHING—before and after eating or handling food, after using the toilet, after infant diaper changes and frequently during the day. Restrooms and diaper changing surfaces should be sanitized with bleach or antibacterial cleaner.

Persons who have symptoms (diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, nausea, and vomiting) should contact a physician immediately. Treatment with antibiotics will shorten the days of illness and also shorten the length of time an infected person sheds the bacteria and can infect others.

Persons with diarrheal illness, including shigellosis, should not attend work, school or daycare until they are free from fever and diarrhea for 24 hours without the use of anti-fever or anti-diarrheal medication.

You can find further information about shigellosis and other gastrointestinal illnesses at:

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