An increase of Shigella infections in Iredell County has prompted health officials to issue an advisory Friday.  This includes advise on handwashing and staying home if you have diarrhea.

“Hand washing with soap and running water is the single most important preventative measure to interrupt the spread of shigellosis,” said Iredell County Health Director, Jane Murray. “Everyone should thoroughly wash
their hands after using the restroom or changing diapers and before eating or preparing food. People diagnosed with Shigella infection should be especially vigilant in their hand washing practices.”


Persons with any diarrheal illness should stay home from child care, school or group activities, and should not participate in jobs involving food preparation or healthcare until their diarrhea has resolved. Routine and thorough hand washing and cleaning of surfaces in the above settings is important to limiting the spread of the disease.

Most Shigella infections are the result of bacteria passing from improperly washed hands of one person to the mouth of another person, often through handling contaminated objects or food. Poor hand washing and hygiene (especially after changing diapers or toileting) increases the risk of infection. Shigella infections are particularly likely to occur among toddlers who are not fully toilet-trained. Family members and playmates of such children are at high risk of becoming infected.

Healthcare providers are required to report Shigella infections to Public Health. Iredell County Health Department is following up with each diagnosed person to help minimize the risk of spreading the infection to friends, family, and other contacts. People who experience diarrhea for more than two days should see their healthcare provider and ask about being tested for Shigella. This is especially true for people who had contact with someone diagnosed with Shigella. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

Shigellosis infection is a highly infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. People infected with Shigella may have stomach cramping, mild or severe diarrhea, often with traces of blood or mucus in the stool and fever. Some infected people may not show any symptoms. Symptoms occur from 1-7 days after exposure, but usually within 1-3 days. Symptoms last an average of 4-7 days. Again, if you or child has any of the above signs and symptoms, please see your healthcare provider.