Shigellosis Outbreak Sweeps Through Kansas City

Shigellosis Outbreak Sweeps Through Kansas City
Science & Medicine

More than 150 cases of Shigellosis have been reported in Kansas City, many of them in young children.

Health officials in Kansas City say there are normally about 10 cases of Shigellosis a year there, but the number has spiked dramatically to 150, and the illness has struck mostly children in daycare and elementary schools. The outbreak is 15 times the yearly average. [1]

In some cases Shigellosis can cause seizures, doctors say.

From January 1 to July 1, there were only 16 cases, but there have been 134 additional cases in the past 2 months.

According to the CDC, Shigellosis is an infectious disease that causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, as well as a high fever that start a day or two after exposure to the Shigella bacteria. Sickness usually lasts 5-7 days. Some people with Shigellosis never show any symptoms and inadvertently pass it to others. [2]

“What we are seeing with this which is unusual is we’re seeing three different patterns of resistance,” Kansas City Health Department Media Spokesperson Bill Snook told Fox 4 KC. “They need to go to a doctor because antibiotics will help less the duration of the virus.”

A spokesman for the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department said the reason for the drastic increase is unknown.

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“We really don’t have any idea why. We know that the Shigella pattern is that we usually have an outbreak every five years,” said health department spokesman Bill Snook.

Shigellosis is spread through direct or indirect oral contact with fecal matter. Transmission can occur from improper hygiene during food preparation or through contact with contaminated water in pools or lakes.

Health officials are urging people in the Kansas City area to wash their hands properly with soap and warm water to prevent the spread of the illness. They also say it’s important to use hands to dry hands rather than cloth towels, as reusing towels can allow the bacteria to linger for others to touch. [3]

“Don’t use a cloth towel because Shigella is unique in some respects in that it only takes 7 to 10 organisms to get you infected,” Snook said.

People who have Shigellosis should not prepare food or drink for others, health officials warn, who warn that diaper-changing should be done properly: by placing soiled diapers in closed-lid containers, and then disinfecting changing areas and thoroughly washing your hands.

Additional Sources:

[1] CNN

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[3] Fox News