Officials with the Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department are reporting a Shigella outbreak that has affected children at area child care centers and Hillcrest Primary School. In addition, cases have been reported in some family members and other adults.
Health officials have notified parents, staff and administration at the facilities, and area medical providers.
Shigellosis is spread from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route. The bacteria can be transferred easily among children because of their poor hand washing habits and tendency to put things in their mouths. People can also become infected by consuming food or drinks prepared by an infected person or handling or cleaning up feces.
Because Shigella is resistant to gastric acid, a person can get infected with as little as 10 organisms.
Symptoms usually begin 24 to 72 hours after exposure and last about four to seven days without treatment; however, severe infections may require antibiotics.
The health department advises the public on the importance good handwashing for children, families, and staff, especially after using the restroom and before eating or handling food. Those with symptoms should stay home from work, school, or daycare and contact their physician. Finally, those with diagnosed Shigella infection should stay home until treatment is completed.