Schools and Day Cares React to Shigellosis Outbreak - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/9/08

Schools and Day Cares React to Shigellosis Outbreak

Earlier this week the Lubbock Health Department reported 44 cases of Shigellosis, a disease that causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The health department says they've heard of more cases since then. The disease is spread when people use the restroom and don't wash their hands.

After lunch at Carver Early Learning Center, every child must wash their hands. "We want to make sure that we don't pass anything off from child to child and teacher to teacher," said Center Director, Whitney McDaniel.

It's especially important to stop the spread of germs now because of the recent outbreak of Shigellosis in Lubbock. From January through August the city had 7 reported cases. They expect fewer than 8 cases in any given month, but since September 1st they've had more than 40. "When you expect only 8 per month, and we're at 5 times what's expected, that's quite a bit," said Public Health Coordinator, Beckie Brawley. 

The health department says the best way to prevent the spread of Shigella is good hand washing. Make sure you use warm water and plenty of soap. When you wash your hands, get in between your fingers and underneath your nails, not just on the outside of your hands, and wash your hands for at least 30 seconds.

L.I.S.D. has five confirmed cases and the district sent letters home to parents whose children may have been exposed. "If you're sick, go see your doctor. If your child has abdominal cramping or diarrhea keep them at home, and go see your doctor," said L.I.S.D. nurse Lori Johnson.

L.I.S.D. asks parents to help prevent the spread of the disease. "This is a bacterium that's easily taken care of if you'll just wash your hands," said Johnson.

The health department asks if you think you have Shigellosis to get antibiotics from your doctor to kill the bacteria. Without antibiotics, your symptoms will only last for 4 to 7 days, but you could still spread the disease for up to a month.

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