Lubbock Sees Dramatic Increase in Cases of Shigellosis
The City of Lubbock Health Department has seen an increase in the number of shigellosis cases reported between September 6 and October 3.
Forty-four cases have been reported during these dates. This is a five-fold increase over the expected 8 cases in a 30-day period. The cases range in age from 1 year to 75 years with 28 (63%) of the cases in children 1 to 15 years of age. Twenty of the 44 cases are lab confirmed. There are 24 probable cases among the household or classroom contacts of lab-confirmed cases. No common food source has been linked to these cases.
The City of Lubbock had a total of seven cases reported from January - August of 2008.
Shigella is the bacterium that causes shigellosis, a diarrheal illness that lasts from 4-7 days. Fever, vomiting and stomach cramps may also be present. It most commonly occurs in children under the age of 10. Once exposed, symptoms develop usually in 1-3 days (range from 1-7 days). Some people with Shigella will have no symptoms at all but are still able to spread the bacteria.
Shigella is spread person-to-person through the unwashed hands of the infected person, either by direct contact, or by food or drink handled by the person infected. Although shigella is easily spread, it can also be easily prevented.
The key is good handwashing -- before and after eating, or handling food, and always after using the toilet, after infant diaper changes and frequently during the day.
Persons with symptoms: diarrhea, cramping, fever, nausea and vomiting, should contact your doctor immediately.