News reports are stating that a Shigella outbreak has occurred at Moberly Public Schools in Missouri in September 2016. “Several” cases at those schools occurred, and cases are now declining.
There is no mention of this outbreak on the Randolph County Health Department website or the Moberly Public Schools website. A Shigella outbreak last spring in Moniteau County in central Missouri sickened at least 70 people. That outbreak was also centered on schools.
A letter was sent to parents at the end of September, asking them to keep children home if they are experiencing the symptoms of shigellosis, the illness caused by this bacteria. ABC17 states that the letter says 23 people were sickened in this outbreak. Those symptoms include diarrhea that can be bloody, vomiting, fever, nausea, and abdominal pain and stomach cramps.
Shigella is very contagious and is easily spread person to person and through contaminated food and drink. Young children are most likely to contract this illness because it spread through the fecal-oral route and they put their fingers in their mouths often. This bacteria can make a person contagious up to four weeks.
To prevent the spread of this illness, stay home and keep your children home if anyone is experiencing a diarrheal or vomiting illness. Wash your hands well after taking care of someone who is sick, after using the bathroom, and before preparing food or drink.
In many locations, people who work in daycare, schools, the health care industry, or food service industries who contract shigellosis must be authorized by the health department before they can return to work. This illness can last up to a week, and some people can have abnormal bowel movements for months.
Shigella infections can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complications that can cause kidney failure and death. If you or anyone in your family has experienced the symptoms of shigellosis, it’s important to see a doctor.