Health officials warn of stomach bug surge - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Health officials warn of stomach bug surge

Illustration from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the Shigella bacteria. (CDC.org) Illustration from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the Shigella bacteria. (CDC.org)
CINCINNATI (FOX19) -

A stomach bug known to spread in childcare settings is at an eight-year high in Hamilton County, the health department announced Monday.

Shigellosis affects an average of 100 people each year in Hamilton County, but it has already sickened more than 200 so far this year, health officials report.

Shigella is a highly contagious bacteria that infects the intestine, according to the Center for Disease Control. The most common symptoms are diarrhea sometimes accompanied by bloody stool, vomiting, fever, nausea and cramps.

There is no vaccine for Shigellosis, so health officials say the best way to reduce the risk of infection is to wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom or after changing a diaper.

“We haven’t seen numbers like this since 2007,” said Patrick Burke, CHD epidemiologist. “We’re partnering with caregivers to stem the spread of the disease.  We’re also asking parents to follow guidelines for preventing infection, like proper hand hygiene and excluding children diagnosed with Shigellosis from daycare settings,” Burke added. 

The Health Department offered these tips to prevent the spread of Shigellosis:

  • Children sick with diarrhea or vomiting should not attend daycare; caregivers should call their health care provider.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after handling diapers, before preparing food or feeding and before eating.
  • Teach children to use soap and warm running water for 20 seconds.
  • Monitor young children to ensure adequate handwashing.

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