The Moniteau County Health Department is investigating a Shigella outbreak in central Missouri. That town, in central Missouri, has more than 70 cases among students, faculty, and family members. Officials are not identifying the school district where this outbreak is occurring, but ABC17 has said it is Tipton. The schools in that county are Tipton, California, Clarksburg Elementary, Jamestown High School, Latham Elementary School, and others.
Andrea Kincaid, RN/Administrator at the Moniteau County Health Center stated, “we have been actively involved in educating school officials and families on how to minimize transmission of this bacteria.” Shigella infections are very contagious and can spread from young children to other family members and people in the community.
People become sick when they ingest a tiny amount of feces that is contaminated with the pathogenic bacteria. Young children are most likely to get shigella because they put their hands in their mouths most often, but anyone can contract this illness. A person is contagious as long as the Shigella bacteria are in their feces. This can last up to four weeks. If an ill person is treated with antibiotics, the contagious period can be shortened.
To prevent the spread of this illness, always wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet. Teach small children the importance of hand washing techniques and always supervise them after they use the bathroom. Clean and sanitize any objects that come into contact with feces, including toilets, potty chairs, sinks, toys, and diaper changing areas.
Do not prepare food for others. If you are sick with Shigella, don’t prepare food or beverages for others until the diarrhea has ended for at least 24 hours. Anyone who works in the healthcare, food service, schools, or childcare facilities should not go back to work or handle food for others until they have been authorized by their local health department. Always keep children and adults with diarrhea out of swimming pools, spas, and other shared water facilities, such as swim parks and water parks for two weeks after diarrhea has ended. And seek medical care if you are in an occupation where you could spread this illness to others or if you are in a high risk group (elderly, pregnant women, anyone with a chronic illness or a compromised immune system).
The symptoms of shigellosis, the illness caused by the Shigella bacteria, include diarrhea that can be bloody, watery, or full of mucus, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. The illness can last up to a week. Symptoms don’t usually begin for one to seven days after exposure to the bacteria. In some people, normal bowel movements do not return for several months.
This illness can be severe among those in high risk groups. Shigella infections can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication that an cause kidney failure and death. There was no word in the press release whether anyone has been hospitalized in this particular outbreak.