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June 16, 2014

Health department reports increase in shigellosis

The Indiana State Department of Health has reported an increase in shigellosis in Indiana.

Hendricks County has seen an increase in laboratory confirmed shigellosis cases.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, “Shigellosis is a contagious diarrheal illness caused by Shigella bacteria and is very easily passed from person to person. A person having diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours or having bloody stool should consult a health care provider. Anyone can become ill, but young children, senior adults, pregnant women, and immune suppressed individuals (such as patients on cancer drugs and with organ transplants) are at high risk for illness.”

“The best way to prevent the spread of shigellosis from person to person is good hand hygiene,” Dr. David Hadley, health officer for the Hendricks County Health Department, said in a press release. “Wash your hands frequently with warm soapy water for a minimum of 20 seconds after using the restroom, after assisting someone who has had diarrhea or vomiting, after swimming, before eating, and before preparing food.”

Persons with fever, diarrhea and/or vomiting should not attend school, a daycare facility, summer camp, sporting events, or go swimming. People who are ill with these symptoms and employed as a food handler, health care worker, daycare worker or similar positions should not got to work. Anyone having these symptoms should receive medical attention as soon as possible for proper diagnosis, testing, and treatment.

Laboratory stool culture results will assist public health authorities in investigating and preventing cases of shigellosis.

Additionally, physicians are to immediately report all suspected and laboratory confirmed cases of shigellosis to local health authorities. In Hendricks County, physicians report these cases to the Hendricks County Health Department.

For more information, contact the Hendricks County Health Department, Nursing Division at 745-9222, or refer to the Indiana State Department of Health www.in.gov/isdh/25433.htm and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/shigellosis/.

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