Lubbock Alone In Shigellosis Case Increase - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/21/08

Lubbock Alone In Shigellosis Case Increase

As the number of Shigellosis cases continue to rise in Lubbock, NewsChannel 11 finds out if neighboring cities are experiencing the same problem.  Here's a look at Lubbock's current numbers.  On Tuesday, the Lubbock Health Department had 93 reported cases. From January to August they only had seven.  Cases started to increase in September; by October 1st, Lubbock had 44 reported cases of Shigellosis.

NewsChannel 11 called the health departments in Abilene, Amarillo, Midland, and San Angelo. None of them report a jump in Shigellosis cases. Most say they're well in their average of five or less a month.  Learning it's not an entire West Texas problem, has health leaders saying it's important to prevent spreading the disease.

"September 1st we starting seeing more cases," Lubbock Public Health Coordinator Beckie Brawley said.  She tells NewsChannel 11 that the area's Shigellosis increase is mainly affecting children around 4-years-old. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, vomiting and stomach cramps. They'll go away in four to seven days, but those infected with the bacteria can still pass it to others for up to four weeks.

Brawley says the best bet to keep your family healthy is by washing your hands.  "If you don't have access to soap and water then use a hand sanitizer," Brawley said. 

Students at Lubbock-Cooper South Elementary are no stranger to the solution.  "There are stations in every teacher's room," Lubbock-Cooper South Elementary School Nurse Shannon Davis said. 

With help from Covenant Health System, Lubbock-Cooper South installed hand sanitizers at every door, and students use them every day.  They were just installed this school year, but school leaders say the sanitizers are proving successful in preventing the spread of illness.

"I have not had one reported case.  It's not meant to be so they will not wash their hands with soap and water; that is by far the best way to prevent disease, but when used in partnership with that, it sure cuts down on the spread of those," Davis said. 

Lubbock-Cooper West Elementary also has the sanitizers, while Cooper-North Elementary does not. Nurse Davis says North is having more reported illness, than South and West, so she recommends using a hand sanitizer in coordination with good hand washing to prevent disease.

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