Shigella bacteria that can cause a nasty infectious diarrheal disease have been showing up in day care centers and elementary schools, the Kansas City Health Department said.
The Health Department has investigated more than 143 cases of shigellosis so far this year. Typically, Kansas City has about 10 cases per year.
Shigella bacteria are transmitted by people who have symptoms, including abdominal pain or cramps, fever, watery diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Young children may suffer convulsions.
Left untreated, people can remain infectious four weeks or more. Treatment with antibiotics can reduce that time to a few days.
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“What is also concerning is that we are seeing three different strains that are resistant to certain antibiotics,” said Tiffany Wilkinson, acting communicable disease prevention manager. “It only takes a few bacteria, sometimes as little as 10 organisms, to infect someone.”
People who are infected should not prepare food or drinks for others until tests show they no longer carry the bacteria, the Health Department said.
To prevent infection, the department advises people to wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Young children should be taught proper hand-washing techniques.
Children and adults with diarrhea should stay out of swimming pools and spas and not share bathtubs for two weeks following the end of diarrhea.
Diapers from infected children should be put in a closed-lid garbage can. The child’s hands and those of the person changing the diaper should be carefully washed and the diaper changing area should be disinfected.