July 25, 2014

Shigella Outbreak in Onondaga County, New York

Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Commissioner of Health for Onondaga County in New York state, announced on June 22, 2012 that there are 15 lab confirmed and 10 probable cases of shigellosis in that county. More cases are expected as the investigation continues.

“Shigellosis is an infectious disease called by a group of bacteria called Shigella,” she explained. “It is associated with consuming water or products contaminated with fecal matter. The incubation period is 1 – 3 days. Many people who are infected with Shigella develop fever, painful bloody or mucous diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 – 7 days. The disease is often worse in children and medical treatment is sometimes necessary in severe cases.”

Some people can be carriers of the Shigella bacteria with no symptoms. Those with mild infections usually recover with no treatment, but some patients need medical care or hospitalization. A severe infection may be associated with seizures in patients under the age of two. About 2% of people who are infected with Shigella flexneri develop post-infectious arthritis which can lead to chronic arthritis.

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