UPDATE: Task Force Formed to Fight Shigellosis Outbreak

Task Force Formed to Fight Shigellosis Outbreak_21618830-159532

The Winnebago County Health Department is reporting additional cases of Shigellosis in our community, bringing the new total to 152, since October 2015. The majority of these cases are isolated and have impacted in children in daycare and elementary schools.

Members of the Winnebago County Health Department met with community stakeholders, including, schools, local hospitals, and health departments to brainstorm ideas on how to stop Shigellosis from spreading.

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called shigella. It has a variety of symptoms, but the most noticeable involve the digestive tract.

“Symptoms for shigella is usually a fever, diarrhea, possibly vomiting. Kind of gastrointestinal everybody thinks is the stomach flu kind of thing,” says Todd Kisner, Interim Director for Center of Health Protection and Promotion

These symptoms are usually noticed within a day or two of contracting the disease, which happens by touching an infected surface and then your mouth. Symptoms are not always noticed, but in some people, especially children and the elderly, the disease can be severe.

“What it is, is it’s another infection coming into the body, so depending on the health of the individual, it could have a greater impact,” Kisner says.

Roughly 1,300 cases are reported each year in Illinois, and 87 confirmed reports since October have been recorded across the Stateline. To avoid adding to those lists and contracting the disease, Kisner says proper hygiene and hand-washing are essential.

“The great thing that we have is the ability to control this in our community if everybody jumps on the bandwagon and practices good hand-washing. And hand-washing is, you know, after toileting, before you eat,” says Kisner.

For more information on the disease, click this link: http://www.cdc.gov/shigella/

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