According to Kathy Mogel, Program Coordinator of the Onondaga County Health Department, there are now 45 cases of “confirmed, probable, and suspect” Shigella in that county. “The health department is continuing to investigate every case for linkages but the source remains unknown,” Ms. Mogel told Food Poisoning Bulletin.
Three weeks have passed since the initial outbreak announcement. Shigella bacteria is spread through drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food, and cross-contamination through person-to-person contact. To prevent further spread of the disease, public health officials recommend the following: thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before preparation; cook foods to appropriate temperatures; minimize cross-contamination by washing cutting boards, knives, and other shared surfaces; do not prepare food for other people if you have diarrhea; wash hands with soap and water thoroughly and frequently after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing foods and beverages; supervise hand washing of toddlers and children after they use the bathroom; dispose of soiled diapers properly; disinfect diaper-changing areas after using them; and keep children with diarrhea out of child care settings.